German economic growth saves Eurozone from contraction
An expansion in Germany’s economy of 0.5% last quarter saved the Eurozone as a whole from slipping into contraction.
However, Germany had some heavy work, as Italy contracted by 0.8% quarter on quarter, Spain shrunk by 0.3% and Portugal’s economic activity reduced by 0.1%.
French GDP was flat last quarter.
The difference between success on this front in Berlin and Paris may give Germany’s chancellor Angela Merkel some more influence in today’s getting-to-know-you discussions with her incoming, centre-left French counterpart, Francois Hollande.
Merkel (pictured) favours austerity, Hollande prefers growth-centred policies.
Finland, Slovakia and Estonia registered strong growth last quarter.
Strength in German exports helped the 17-member Eurozone bloc avoid contracting for a second quarter running, after it shrank by 0.3% in the final three months of 2011. Last quarter the bloc’s economic activity was unchanged.