Spain has sunk into its second recession in just over two years as the Government faces pressure to meet strict EU deadlines. With a 0.3% contraction in Quarter 1, the figure is slightly better than predicted but does indicate that the Spanish economy is deteriorating.
Both the Yorkshire and Clydesdale banks, who are subsidiaries of National Australia Bank, have confirmed that they will cut in the region of 1,400 jobs which would include closing almost 30 Financial Solution Centres. The banks intend to focus on the business in Northern England and Scotland, which suggests that many of the cuts will be in the South.
Consumer spending in the US increased 0.3% in March, down significantly for February’s 0.9% indicating that consumer spending in the world’s largest economy is slowing.
Standard and Poor’s have downgraded Spain’s debt rating by two notches today, which will cause the country to face a “crisis of huge proportions” according to Spain’s Foreign Minister Jose Manuel Garcia-Margallo in a radio interview. Unemployment has risen by 24% in the first quarter, one of the worst unemployment figures in the developed world and retail sales have slumped as the recession hits consumer spending.
Worries about the recession and general financial prospects has kept British economic morale low according to a survey today. The headline consumer confidence index as measured by polling company GfK NOP remains at -31 in April, in contrast to economic forecasts of a small improvement to -30.