A list of countries where the future financial outlook appears glum has been compiled by Bloomberg, the financial data and media company.
Heading the list were Venezuela, Argentina, South Africa, Ukraine and Greece which, it said, were “the five most painful economies in which to live and work”.
Their calculations are based on inflation and unemployment rates which, when predicted to be high, create misery for the people.
Perhaps surprisingly, Portugal entered the list in number 10 position. Spain was put in 6th place and Italy in 11th. All the European countries on the so-called misery list show about average projected income levels relative to other countries.
Bloomberg says these four (Portugal, Italy, Greece and Spain) were ones with “bloated budget deficits” and “remain in dire straits”.
Greece's public debt is now equal to 177% of GDP, the highest level in the eurozone. The country suffers 25.8% unemployment, with more than half of its young people out of work.
Italy's public debt has jumped from 116% to 133% of GDP in three years. GDP has dropped nearly 10% in six years, industrial production has reversed back to the levels of 1980. The youth jobless rate is 44%.
The conditions facing consumers in Venezuela are woeful. Inflation is running at 64% and with the collapse of oil prices the country has no money to import even basic goods. Despite having the world’s biggest oil reserves, people have to queue for hours to get toilet paper or cooking oil.
Argentina’s economy contracted last year and is predicted to continue to shrink while South Africa is trying to recover from the recession which struck in 2009. People there contend with electricity blackouts which are expected to continue for the coming three years.
Ukraine is in a sorry state. Even with the recent ceasefire, the jobless rate is expected to rise as is inflation which has hit Ukrainian households, already struggling on very low incomes and with little prospect of growth.