World Stocks Fall Due To Growth Fears

Stocks have fallen on fears over the health of the global economy, after last week’s weak US jobs data and persistent fears over the eurozone.

Figures released on Friday by the US Labor Department showed the smallest growth in employment in five months. The US economy added 120,000 jobs during March, less than the 200,000 widely predicted by analysts. Investors in Europe were given their first chance after the Easter break to react to Friday’s disappointing US jobs data. The figures raised fears about the strength of the recovery in the US economy.

Meanwhile, the interest rate on Spanish bonds traded in the secondary market continued to rise. The yield on 10-year bonds hit 5.99%, up from 5.74% on Monday, indicating that investors are getting increasingly concerned about Spain’s ability to repay its debts.


Investors in Europe also had an eye on Chinese data showing a rise in exports but a sharp fall in imports, while a report from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) also gave mixed messages. It identified a “potential turning point in economic activity in the euro area and regained momentum in other major economies”, particularly the US and Japan.

But the report also talked of “diverging” economies in Europe, with Germany and the UK showing a “positive change in momentum” but France and Italy displaying “continued sluggish activity”. Analysts noted general caution ahead of the first quarter reporting season in the US, beginning later on Tuesday with aluminium giant Alcoa.

Source: BBC News

Image: Asia Bizz

Sweden — Soon-to-be ‘Cashless’ Country?

Sweden was the first European country to introduce bank notes in 1661. Now it’s come farther than most on the path toward getting rid of them.

The contours of such a society are starting to take shape in this high-tech nation, frustrating those who prefer coins and bills over digital money. In most Swedish cities, public buses don’t accept cash; tickets are prepaid or purchased with a cell phone text message. A small but growing number of businesses only take cards, and some bank offices — which make money on electronic transactions — have stopped handling cash altogether.

Bills and coins represent only 3 percent of Sweden’s economy, compared to an average of 9 percent in the eurozone and 7 percent in the U.S., according to the Bank for International Settlements, an umbrella organization for the world’s central banks.


The Swedish Bankers’ Association says the shrinkage of the cash economy is already making an impact in crime statistics. The number of bank robberies in Sweden plunged from 110 in 2008 to 16 in 2011 — the lowest level since it started keeping records 30 years ago. It says robberies of security transports are also down. The flip side is the risk of cybercrimes. According to the Swedish National Council for Crime Prevention the number of computerized fraud cases, including skimming, surged to nearly 20,000 in 2011 from 3,304 in 2000.

Most experts don’t expect cash to disappear anytime soon, but that its proportion of the economy will continue to decline as such payment options become available. Before retiring as deputy governor of Sweden’s central bank, Lars Nyberg said last year that cash will survive “like the crocodile, even though it may be forced to see its habitat gradually cut back.”

Source: Yahoo News

Image: Inside Retailing