News - Economics / markets
Categories: Economics / Markets
Germany's GDP slumped by the most in four years in Q4 2012, with French, Italian and Japanese growth also contracting more than expected on the quarter.
According to initial estimates, German GDP fell 0.6% in the fourth quarter of 2012; the biggest drop since the fourth quarter of 2008. French Q4 GDP, meanwhile, fell by 0.3%.
Slumping export numbers contributed to the poor numbers, which were both worse than forecast.
Italian growth figures were also worse than expected as the economy posted its sixth successive quarter of contraction with a 0.9% drop. Economists had expected a 0.6% fall.
Those numbers dragged eurozone GDP down to a 0.6% contraction in Q4, its worst performance in almost four years.
That followed earlier news of a Q4 growth figure for Japan that confounded expectations of a 0.4% rise.
Japanese GDP dropped by 0.1% on the quarter, a figure which may bolster its advocacy of stimulus policies which have produced a significant weakening in the yen in recent months.
Revisions to previous quarterly data mean Japan has now slid back into recession with three successive quarters of negative growth.
The eurozone figures, meanwhile, may lead to fresh concerns over the economy's own currency.
"The German statistics office says that exports and investment dropped ‘markedly' in Q4, while the French figures also showed a drop in exports," said Capital Economics' chief European economist Jonathan Loynes.
"This will no doubt fuel fears over the [eurozone] economy's vulnerability to the strong euro. Of course, survey indicators have pointed to an improvement in the early months of this year.
"But for now at least they are not strong enough to suggest that the eurozone has pulled out of recession."
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