Germany avoids triple-dip recession; Brent crude falls below $80; Techie women and egg-freezing parties

1 Germany avoids triple-dip recession (Julia Kollewe & Graeme Wearden in The Guardian) Germany and France, the eurozone’s two largest economies, performed better than expected in the third quarter, with Germany narrowly avoiding a triple-dip recession. However, Italy, the third-largest economy, has slid back into recession, its third since the financial crisis struck.

The eurozone as a whole grew by 0.2% between July and September following 0.1% growth in the second quarter, according to Eurostat. Greece has finally come out of recession, after nearly six years of misery. There was some relief in financial markets as Germany, Europe’s largest economy, eked out growth of 0.1%. Many economists had feared the country could slip back into recession, defined as two or more consecutive quarters of contraction.

France expanded 0.3% in the third quarter, the highest since the second quarter of 2013. Among the bigger eurozone economies, Italy was the only one that disappointed. It shrank 0.1% between July and September, marking the 13th quarter without any growth. Following a 0.2% contraction in the second quarter, this means Italy is in its third recession since 2008.

Spain was the best performer among major European economies this quarter, having reported 0.5% growth, while Portugal and the Netherlands both grew 0.2%. Outside the eurozone, Poland outperformed the currency bloc with 0.9% growth.

2 Brent crude falls below $80 (BBC) The price of Brent crude oil has fallen $3.60 – 4.4% – to $77.52, its lowest level for four years. The benchmark US crude oil price is also at a four-year low, after losing $2.57 to close at $74.28. The price has fallen sharply since the summer and is 30% below its June price. The drop comes as traders believe members of the Opec oil exporting countries, which control about 40% of world oil exports, will not cut production.

Opec’s 12 member countries will meet later this month to discuss the global oil market. Lower oil prices typically prompt Opec nations, which include the biggest oil exporting nation in the world, Saudi Arabia, to rein back output in order to limit supply and boost prices and income. Most need higher oil prices to fund rising government spending. But recent comments by oil ministers from Saudi Arabia and Kuwait suggest the group is unlikely to agree to a cut.

3 Techie women and egg-freezing parties (Wendy Lee in San Francisco Chronicle) In Silicon Valley, where many tech employees put in long hours, Dr Aimee Eyvazzadeh wants women to think about freezing their eggs — after work, and over drinks. The fertility expert is hosting three informational events this week, called egg freezing parties. Over wine and appetizers, a small group of women will learn more about the egg freezing process and there will be experts to help with any questions.

Eyvazzadeh, who calls herself “The Egg Whisperer,” is jumping on growing interest in preserving eggs in Silicon Valley, as some tech companies have decided to make the procedure a standard health benefit for a young workforce that is faced with the decision on whether to delay parenthood.

“It’s the 2014 version of the Tupperware party,” Eyvazzadeh said. “I thought it would be a fun way to promote fertility awareness before it’s too late.”  More tech companies are offering perks for parenthood in order to keep employees happy. Facebook already covers up to $20,000 for several procedures, including egg freezing, and also offers other benefits for parents, including giving $4,000 in “baby cash” for each child born. Meanwhile, Apple plans to include egg freezing and storage as part of items covered by its health insurance policy next year.

Eyvazzadeh’s explains how it works:  A woman injects herself with hormones in the skin of her midsection every night for ten nights. Then, the woman under goes a procedure in which a doctor collects her eggs. Those eggs are then frozen and stored. The cost of freezing eggs in general could be roughly $15,000. That’s compared to spending well over $30,000 to find an egg donor when you’re 40, she added.


About joesnewspicks

This blog captures interesting news items from around the world for those strained by information overload and yet need to stay updated on global events of significance. The news items displayed are not in order of merit. (The blog takes a weekly off — normally on Sundays — and does not appear when I am on vacation or busy.) I am a journalist for nearly three decades.
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