According to revised official figures, the economy of the eurozone, the sixteen European countries using the euro, did not grow at all in the final quarter of last year. Eurostat reports that the number was revised from an initial figure of +0.1%.
Meanwhile, the eurozone’s lost more than 2.2% in a year-on year comparison, more than the initial estimate of 2.1%.
According to the numbers, Ireland saw an output drop of 2.3% in the last quarter of 2009, while Greece, the country in the eurozone with the most debt, had its economy contract by 0.8%. Italy was down by 0.3%, Germany saw no gain, but France posted a 0.6% quarterly growth.
The Associated Press reports the stagnation was unexpected by analysts, and will only reinforce expectations that the European Central Bank will keep the key interest rate at one percent for most of 2010.
Euro banknotes and coins become legal tender in twelve of the European Union’s member states.
The euro (currency sign: €; currency code: EUR) is the official currency of fifteen member states of the European Union (EU).
The states, known collectively as the Eurozone are: Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Portugal, Slovenia, and Spain. Read More…
The Eurozone is now officially in a recession, due to the recently released figures showing that, in the third quarter of 2008, the economy shrunk by 0.2%.
For a recession to be official, the economy must have shrunk for at least two consecutive quarters. This is the case as the Eurozone’s economy also shrunk by 0.2% in the second quarter of this year.
Howard Archer, the chief European economist for Global Insight commented on these results. “Not only did the third quarter contraction in GDP confirm that the Eurozone is now in recession, but latest data and survey evidence indicate that the fourth quarter is likely to see a sharper fall in GDP as the financial crisis bites harder,” he stated.
This development comes after two large countries in the Eurozone, Germany and Italy announced that they were in a recession. Read More…
Today at midnight, the Republic of Cyprus and the Republic of Malta, both small island states in the Mediterranean and former British colonies, adopted the euro as their official currency; less than four years after their accession to the European Union.
Because Cyprus and Malta are in different time zones, Cyprus adopted the euro one hour before Malta did the same. In both countries the euro was welcomed with outdoor celebrations, including a fireworks display in Malta’s capital Valletta.
According to the BBC Cypriot Finance Minister Michalis Sarris has said the euro “will benefit consumers and businesses alike because of the eurozone’s low inflation, low interest rates and large market.”