The eurozone economy nearly stalled in the fourth quarter of 2019, with a plus of 0.1 percent on a quarterly basis. The European statistics agency Eurostat reported this on the basis of a provisional estimate. In the third quarter, an adjusted growth of 0.3 percent was recorded for the euro area.
It is the weakest growth since 2013, partly due to global trade tensions and uncertainty surrounding the brexit. Economists generally expected that the nineteen eurozone countries would show a combined growth of 0.2 percent. Economic growth of 0.1 percent on a quarterly basis was also reported for the entire European Union of 28 countries, compared to 0.3 percent in the previous quarter.
Earlier in the day it became apparent that economic contraction was unexpected in France and Italy. In Spain, growth picked up slightly in the past quarter.
Over the whole of 2019, the economy of the eurozone showed a growth of 1.2 percent and 1.4 percent for the EU, according to Eurostat. That was 1.8 and 1.9 percent respectively in 2018. The European Statistical Office will come up with new estimates and more details about economic development later.
Economists think that the economy of the eurozone and the EU can start to pick up again, partly because the uncertainty about the Brexit has decreased, while trade tensions have also been reduced thanks to the provisional trade deal between the United States and China. However, new risks have arisen such as the outbreak of the new corona virus.