Euro area unemployment falls to record low
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Euro area unemployment fell to the lowest in almost eight years and a measure of manufacturing accelerated as factories in the region’s biggest economies benefited from improving global growth.
The average jobless rate fell to 9.5% in February from 9.6% in January.
It’s been decreasing steadily from a peak of more than 12% in 2013 and is now at the lowest since May 2009.
Separately, IHS Markit said its Purchasing Managers’ Indices (PMIs) for Germany, France and Italy all rose in March, helping to push its euro region gauge to the highest since 2011.
New export business rose in all three nations.
Cement production volume continues to fall
Cement production volumes declined 16% year-on-year in February, following a 9% and 13% fall in December and January, respectively, said Jefferies India Pvt. Ltd, citing department of industrial policy and promotion data.
The February number represents a 5% month-on-month decline as well.
Based on channel checks, Jefferies believes March will see only a marginal improvement over February.
In a report on 31 March, analysts from Jefferies said even if one assumes the highest month-on-month improvement in history, it would still mean that the March quarter could see a 11% year-on-year drop and fiscal year 2017 might see a 1% year-on-year fall in volumes.
Power PLF low due to poor demand
Weak demand and generation weighed on the plant load factor (PLF) of power plants through FY17 until February.
A report by Emkay Global Financial Services Ltd says that barring the hydro sector where there was a marginal 90 basis points improvement from a year ago, PLF declined. A basis point is 0.01%.
Coal-fired power plants posted the worst decline of 420 basis points to 54.9%.
Overall power PLF at 38.6% was down by 360 basis points. Meanwhile, although power rates were a bit subdued in February, they rose by 10.8% from a year ago.
However, the southern region was different in that spot prices rose on a low base effect of the year-ago period when rates had fallen sharply.