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An Overview of the European Debt Crisis

By December 2, 2011

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Photo Credit: Duboix

An Overview of the European Debt Crisis

The debt crisis in Europe affects the global financial markets. For that reason, some financial advisors say that the global economic downturn has continued through 2011.

A group of six of the world's central banks, including the European Central Bank (ECB) and the U.S. Federal Reserve Bank, decided to decrease the costs of borrowing money to international financial institutions.

At the same time, some financial news from around the world seems to show signs of economic improvement:

  • Fiscally conservative Germany maintains a AAA credit rating from Standard & Poor's. Unemployment also fell in Germany to 5.9%. The nation's debt to Gross Domestic Product ratio is 83.2% in November 2011.
  • Beleaguered Italy's Prime Minister said the country wouldn't proceed with a proposal to request funds from the International Monetary Fund (IMF). Reuter's reported that Prime Minister Mario Monti plans to balance the country's budget by 2013. Italy has an A rating from Standard & Poor's. The country's unemployment rate is currently reported at 6.8%. Italy's debt to Gross Domestic Product ratio is 119% today.
  • Solutions oriented Spain said that the country's deficit is declining, according to Bloomberg Businessweek in November 2011. Standard & Poor's rates the country's debt at AA. Unemployment remains high in Spain (reported 20.5% unemployment in summer of 2011). The Spanish debt to Gross Domestic Product ratio is currently 60.1%.
  • Financially focused officials of the French government say that a 2012 recession now seems unlikely. France reported 10% unemployment last summer. The country maintains a AAA rating by S&P. The French debt to Gross Domestic Product ratio stands at about 81.7%.

Of course, not all the news from Europe is promising:

  • Greece reports that unemployment is above 16% in November 2011. The country's S&P rating is CC. The debt to Gross Domestic Product ratio is approximately 143%!
  • Portugal's unemployment rate is above 12%, and the country's Standard & Poor's rating is BBB-. The debt to Gross Domestic Product ratio is about 93%, according to the Associated Press this month.
  • According to some economists, it's China's unrecognized economic problems that the world should worry about!

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