Eurozone growth less than expected in third-quarter

AFP, Wednesday 11 Jan 2012

The drop in Eurozone growth is driven by a decline in France's growth rate between July and September 2011

(Photo: Reuters)

The European Union revised downwards on Wednesday its figure for eurozone growth over the third quarter of last year, to 0.1 per cent.

The previous figure given was 0.2 per cent and detailed EU data showed that a drop on France's previously published growth rate between July and September, from 0.4 per cent to 0.3 per cent, impacted the revision in gross domestic product (GDP).

Economists are watching closely to see if the first estimate for the all-important final three months of 2011 shows the eurozone -- home to some 330 million people across Europe -- dipping into recessionary waters.

The data published online by the EU's Eurostat agency kept German growth for the period at 0.5 per cent.

Spain posted zero per cent, while Italy and the Netherlands each saw shrinkages, although the Dutch contraction was narrowed to 0.2 per cent from the 0.3 per cent initially indicated.

Difficult to compare on an exact like-for-like basis due to differences in statistical methodology, the EU said that the United States posted 0.5 per cent growth for the same period and Japan 1.5 per cent.

Germany reported separately Wednesday that its economy grew 3.0 per cent in 2011 but shrank about a quarter of a percentage point in the last three months of 2011.

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