15 Feb, 2010

Economic growth

German economic performance stagnated in the final quarter of 2009, remaining identical to the figures from the previous three months. After posting a slight growth of 0.4 percent in the second quarter, and 0.7 percent in the third, Germany’s gradual economic recovery halted at the end of the year. “The recovery of the German economy lost momentum at the end of 2009,” Germany’s Destatis statistics office said in a statement. Consumption and business investment were both down, but exports – the mainstay of the German economy – made a positive contribution to the figures. 40.6 million working citizens contributed to the economic performance, 156,000 (or 0.4 percent) fewer than in the previous year. Nevertheless, the German government predicts 1.4 percent economic growth in 2010, with the International Monetary Fund forecasting a slightly greater increase for Europe’s largest economy. A number of European Union nations announced their growth figures on Friday. France, Europe’s second largest economy, recorded an increase of 0.6 percent for the fourth quarter of 2009, despite a contraction of 2.2 percent for the whole year. Countries such as the Czech Republic, Hungary and Italy posted a shrinking of their economies in the fourth quarter of 2009, while growth slowed in the Netherlands and Austria. Both the euro zone, made up of the 16 countries that use the euro currency, and the wider 27-nation EU recorded a growth of 0.1 percent for the fourth quarter. However, the economies of the euro zone and the EU contracted by around 4 percent over the entire year. Credit: AFP/Reuters/BBC/Yahoo

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