The eurozone grew by a steady but unspectacular 0.3 per cent in the final three months of 2015 compared to the previous quarter.
The outcome for the fourth quarter follows 0.3 per cent growth the previous month and was in line with economists’ forecasts, writes Nathalie Thomas. For 2015 as a whole growth was 1.5 per cent, up from 0.9 per cent in 2014 and the strongest performance since 2011.
A breakdown of the GDP data is not yet available but economists at Citi said domestic demand was likely the main driver of growth in the fourth quarter while weak exports were probably a drag.
Economists are expecting the European Central Bank to take further action next month to avoid a prolonged period of weak economic growth and low inflation, which at 0.4 per cent, remains well below the ECB’s target of just under 2 per cent.
But the recent turmoil in financial markets and fears over the outlook for the global economy have added to concerns over whether growth in Europe can continue at such a pace. The European Commission recently downgraded its growth expectations for the eurozone this year, to 1.7 per cent from 1.8 per cent previously.
GDP data for the whole of the eurozone have been published after disappointing figures from Italy, which showed that the common currency bloc’s third biggest economy barely grew in the final three months of 2015. Portugal’s GDP numbers, which showed growth of just 0.2 per cent in the fourth quarter, also missed forecasts.
Below is a breakdown of the GDP growth in the European Union as a whole, by individual country.