Euro Area grows 0.3% in Q4 2015 — Italy, Austria stagnate
Seasonally adjusted GDP rose by 0.3% in both the Euro Area (EA19) and the EU28 during the fourth quarter of 2015, compared with the previous quarter, according to a flash estimate published Friday by Eurostat, the statistics office of the European Union.
In the third quarter of 2015, GDP (gross domestic product) grew by 0.3% and 0.4% respectively. Compared with the same quarter of the previous year, seasonally adjusted GDP rose by 1.5% in the Euro Area and by 1.8% in the EU28 in the fourth quarter of 2015, after +1.6% and +1.9% respectively in the previous quarter.
During the fourth quarter of 2015, GDP in the United States increased by 0.2% compared with the previous quarter (after +0.5% in the third quarter of 2015). Compared with the same quarter of the previous year, GDP grew by 1.8% (after +2.1% in the previous quarter). Over the whole year 2015, GDP rose by 1.5% in the Euro Area and by 1.8% in the EU28.
The German economy continued its moderate growth at the end of 2015. In the fourth quarter of 2015, GDP rose 0.3% on the previous quarter after adjustment for price, seasonal and calendar variations. The economic situation in Germany in 2015 was characterised by solid and steady growth (+0.3% in the third and fourth quarter each and +0.4% in each of the first two quarters). Destatis, the German federal statistics office also reported that this results in a +1.7% average increase (calendar-adjusted: +1.4%) for the whole year of 2015.
France slowed to 0.2% from 0.3% in the third quarter while Spain expanded by 0.8%. UK growth rose to 0.5% from 0.4% and it posted annual growth of 1.9%.
GDP only rose 0.1% in the three months through December in Italy. GDP expanded 1% from the same quarter of 2014 while its non-seasonally adjusted growth last year was 0.7%. Italy's GDP is around 9% lower than its pre-crisis peak in early 2008.
“Data are weaker than what we expected and signal a potential lack of rebound in investment activity, which is a key factor in supporting a sustainable recovery,” said Giada Giani, an economist at Citigroup Inc. in London. “Growth significantly slowed down during 2015, posing downside risks to our forecast for economic growth this year.”
Ireland will publish growth estimates for the fourth quarter next month.
Greece contracted 0.6% in the quarter and 1.9% in the year while Finland had a slight annual contraction. Austria stagnated.
The Euro Area (EA19) includes Belgium, Germany, Estonia, Ireland, Greece, Spain, France, Italy, Cyprus, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Austria, Portugal, Slovenia, Slovakia and Finland. The European Union (EU28) includes Belgium, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Germany, Estonia, Ireland, Greece, Spain, France, Croatia, Italy, Cyprus, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Hungary, Malta, the Netherlands, Austria, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovenia, Slovakia, Finland, Sweden and the United Kingdom.