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Eurozone economy narrowly avoids recession in the fourth quarter – GDP

According to a preliminary estimate from Eurostat, the gross domestic product  in the 20 countries sharing the euro was flat in the fourth quarter of 2023 compared to the previous three months.

The result surpassed market expectations, as the consensus had anticipated a 0.1% quarter-on-quarter decline in GDP. A decline of 0.1% or more for two consecutive quarters would have met the technical definition of a recession.

Annualized figure showed that the fourth quarter performed better than expected, with a 0.1% increase compared to the same period 12 months earlier. Analysts had forecasted that it would remain unchanged.

Spain and Portugal were the key contributors to the positive outcome. Spain, the euro zone’s fourth-largest economy, experienced quarterly growth of 0.6%, while Portugal grew by 0.8%. Italy, the third-largest economy, also contributed with a modest increase of 0.2% in the last three months.

Germany, the largest economy in the euro zone, saw a 0.3% quarterly decline in output, while the second-largest economy, France, reported zero growth.

The overall flat GDP in the fourth quarter prevented the euro zone from entering a technical recession, as it did not experience two consecutive quarters of negative GDP growth.

The data suggests a mixed economic performance across different countries within the euro zone, with some economies experiencing growth and others facing contractions.

In summary, despite challenges such as a decline in output in Germany, the euro zone narrowly avoided a technical recession in the last quarter of 2023, thanks to positive contributions from Spain, Portugal, and a modest increase in Italy.