France Pushes Ahead: Weekly International ETF Report
“The Mediterranean cannot remain a huge open-air cemetery. Action must be taken,” Fabius told Europe 1 radio, i-Tele and newspaper Le Monde in a televised appearance. Fabius said President Francois Hollande wants the issue of border controls to be on the agenda for a European Council meeting of heads of state on October 24-25. Italy has also called for European leaders to address the issue at the summit. “It is very possible that the president will bring this issue to the agenda of the European Council,” Fabius said. “The heads of state must translate their outrage into action,” he said, calling for increased funding for European migration bodies and stronger border controls. Italy and France have already called for European interior ministers to hold talks on immigration at a meeting in Luxembourg on Tuesday. Divers on Sunday resumed their search for bodies after the shipwreck disaster off the remote Italian island of Lampedusa. Over 120 bodies have so far been recovered from the boat that was carrying between 450 and 500 African asylum-seekers when it capsized Thursday off Lampedusa, the first entry point to Italy from north Africa. It is feared that the final death toll could be closer to 300, which would make the accident the worst ever Mediterranean refugee tragedy after a previous one in 1996, also off Italian shores, claimed 283 lives. Fabius said action needed to be taken to toughen penalties against people-smugglers and to boost the resources of Frontex, the European border control agency. Noting that Frontex has an annual budget of only 50-60 million euros ($68-$81 million), Fabius said: “This is nothing at all in the context of the European budget. “It really is an embarrassment. It is not enough to be outraged, we must back that up with resources,” he said.
Investors have been keeping a watchful eye on France, as the economic health of weakest link in the Eurozone core is often seen as an indicator of the Eurozones recovery from the Great Recession. On October 3, the French National Institute of Statistics and Economic Studies (INSEE) released a report entitled, Conjonture in France The Recovery Continues . The report began with this overview: In France the business climate, which started to pick up in industry in spring, is now improving across all sectors. Activity is however likely to be restricted in the energy and transport equipment sectors in Q3, most notably due to the after-effects of the previous quarter. GDP should thus stabilise in Q3 before growing once more in Q4 2013 (+0.4%). As an annual average, GDP should climb by 0.2% in 2013. Year-on-year, activity should show a far more positive trend at the end of 2013 than one year previously (+0.8% after -0.3%), driven by the rebound in manufacturing output, most notably. The rate of unemployment in France continues to remain dismal, at 11 percent during August, (unchanged from July) according to an October 1 report from Eurostat , which indicated that the Eurozone unemployment rate remained at 12.0 percent (NYSEARCA:VGK). The Eurozone unemployment rate for July was revised downward from 12.1 percent to 12.0 percent. On October 3, Markit Economics released its final France Services PMI report for September , which included the final Composite PMI figure for the month. The Markit Services Activity Index rose to a 20-month high of 51.0 from Augusts 48.9, finally breaking into the range of expansion. (A reading below 50 indicates contraction and a reading above 50 indicates expansion.) The final Markit France Composite Output Index also rose into the expansionary range with a reading of 50.5, compared with 48.8 in August. The Composite PMI for September also reached a 20-month high. Unfortunately, the final Markit France Manufacturing PMI for September remained slightly in the range of contraction for the nineteenth consecutive month creeping upward to only 49.8 from Augusts reading of 49.7. Markits France Retail PMI report brought the bad news, as the nations retail sales fell for the first time in three months. Retail PMI fell into contraction during September, dropping to 47.1 from Augusts 51.6. The France Services PMI report included the following Commentary from Jack Kennedy, Senior Economist at Markit Economics and author of all three of the Manufacturing, Services, and Retail PMI reports: The prolonged downturn in the French service sector finally came to an end in September, with activity rising for the first time in one-and-a-half years. (Chart courtesy of Stockcharts.com ).