Thursday, January 12, 2012

Euro Crisis Eases

Both Spain and Italy had successful bond auctions yesterday, easing pressure on the euro. 
The yield on Spanish 10-year bonds dropped to 5.1 percent, while Italy’s slid to 6.5 percent. German Bunds, the euro zone benchmark, were relatively unchanged at 1.8 percent.
In the auction Thursday in Madrid, the three-year bonds, which accounted for €4.3 billion, were sold at an average yield of 3.75 percent, compared with 4.87 percent at the previous auction of such bonds in July. Another €4.3 billion of a new three-year bond sold at a yield of 3.38 percent.
The Spanish Treasury also sold €3.2 billion worth of a bond maturing Oct. 31, 2016 for 3.91 percent, compared with 4.85 percent last November.
The 12-month bills sold by the Italian government were priced to yield 2.79 percent — down sharply from the 5.95 percent it paid to sell similar securities on Dec. 12.
Italy also sold €3.5 billion of three-month bills priced to yield 1.64 percent, down from 3.25 percent at the last auction.
Meanwhile, the number of immigrants to Germany classified as "highly qualified" is up sharply. Skilled workers and professionals are moving not only from Greece and Spain but also from Eastern Europe in the hope of finding work in the relatively healthy German economy, even though Germany experienced a slowdown in the last quarter and is expected to continue contracting in this quarter.

The FN Again

So, just after reporting poll results yesterday that suggested, to me at any rate, that the FN's rise under Marine Le Pen had been exaggerated, today we have another poll, this one from the SOFRES, suggesting precisely the opposite:
La hausse de 9 points, à 31 %, de l'adhésion aux idées du Front national révélée par le baromètre TNS Sofres réalisé pour France Info, Le Monde et Canal+, semble une bonne nouvelle pour Marine Le Pen, à cent jours du premier tour de l'élection présidentielle.
En mai 2002, 70 % des personnes interrogées estiment que le parti lepéniste représente "un danger pour la démocratie" (65 % en décembre 2006). Aujourd'hui, ce chiffre tombe à 53 %, pratiquement son niveau le plus faible depuis 1985 (50 % en 1985, 52 % en 2010).
Of course, in interpreting these results, a great deal depends on what questions were asked, and I don't have time to look into this right now. Perhaps some commenter will want to offer insights.