The Ups and Downs of the Eurozone Economy

MEDIA ROOM

An official report that was issued recorded the fastest economic growth rate for the Eurozone economy for nearly two years achieved during the first quarter of this year. A positive economic output of 0.4% on top of the 0.3% for the previous quarter was recorded across the 19-country bloc.

This growth rate is in line with the wider expectations following the emergence of the Eurozone from one of the longest recorded economic recessions after the second quarter of 2013.  Despite the positive result however, policy and decision-makers across the region are still likely to remain quite disappointed, particularly in view of the various factors that acted as stimulus for the economy, including the steep decline in oil prices that mirrored a tax cut for both businesses and consumers, a boost in exports after a drop in the value of the euro and the European Central Bank’s 1.1 trillion euro incentive capping interest rates on the market.

Against this wider scenario, particular country economies stood out, affecting the overall recorded growth. Greece’s economy shrank by 0.2% in the period January-March 2015. This is after a 0.4% contraction in the last quarter of 2014, meaning that Greece is now back into a state of severe recession that may see it leaving the Eurozone. Surprisingly, Germany experienced a quarterly 0.4% decline to 0.3% down from 0.7% despite being Europe’s largest economy.

On the other end of the spectrum, France experienced a growth of 0.6% against the previous quarter’s flat outcome and Italy’s economy grew for the first time since the third quarter of 2014, by 0.3%. The largest growth was recorded for Spain with a solid increase of 0.9%.