Economic growth in Europe: The euro-zone recovery is losing momentum

by / Friday, 14 August 2015 / Published in Economy

TODAY’S figures for GDP in the second quarter of 2015 from Eurostat are disappointing. The consensus among economists was that the 19-strong currency club would grow by 0.4%, the same as in the first quarter. Instead the pace of quarterly growth slowed a little, to 0.3%, leaving output 1.2% higher than a year ago.The French outcome was the main setback. Output had been expected to rise by 0.2% following growth of 0.7% (revised up from 0.6%) in the first quarter. Instead it stagnated mainly because of an abrupt slowdown in consumer spending. Italian GDP continued to expand but by 0.2% compared with 0.3% in the first quarter, leaving output only 0.5% higher than a year ago.The feeble economic performance of France and Italy is the principal reason why the overall recovery of the euro area since the spring of 2013 has been a pallid affair. Given the stimulus from lower energy prices and the policy of quantitative easing (purchasing assets by creating money) pursued by the European Central Bank (ECB) since March, the renewed weakness in the euro zone’s second- and third-biggest economies is troubling.Their unsatisfactory performance contrasts with the strong upswing in the Spanish economy, the fourth-biggest in the euro area. The pace of quarterly growth strengthened from an already robust 0.9% in the first quarter to 1.0% in the second quarter, among the highest in the …
Source: The Economy