EU fourth-quarter 2013 GDP expands 0.4%: Eurostat

14 February 2014 11:27 Source:ICIS News

LONDON (ICIS)--EU GDP expanded by 0.4% in the fourth quarter of 2013, while the eurozone’s economic recovery showed signs of gaining momentum, according to flash data from statistics agency Eurostat on Friday.

Eurozone GDP expanded by 0.3% quarter on quarter, compared to a growth rate of just 0.1% in the preceding quarter of 2013, eurostat said. EU GDP grew by 0.3% in the third quarter of 2013.

Eurostat added that EU GDP had expanded by 0.1% during 2013 as a whole, and fallen by 0.4% in the eurozone.

The eurozone’s purchasing managers’ index (PMI) reached a 32-month high in January, according to data from analyst Markit released earlier this month. A strong performance by Germany on the back of fattening order books and rising employment helped to drive the bloc’s PMI to 54.0.

An improving performance by the France’s manufacturing sector during the period helped to allay fears that the country’s economic recovery may be faltering. Markit had warned in December that France was in danger of becoming “the sick man” of Europe, but Eurostat said on Friday that the country’s fourth-quarter GDP had grown by 0.3%.

The strongest quarter-on-quarter GDP increases during the fourth quarter included Romania and the Czech Republic, which saw GDP increases of 1.7% and 1.6% respectively. Lithuania’s GDP expanded by 1.2%, while the Netherlands, UK and Latvia all generated GDP gains of 0.7%, Eurostat said.

Finland suffered the steepest decline of any EU member state during the quarter, with GDP shrinking 0.8%, while Estonia’s GDP slumped by 0.1%.

The slow thawing of economic conditions in Europe prompted both the European Central Bank and Bank of England to adopt a wait and see approach when deciding on whether to shift their key interest rates. Both central banks left their key interest rates at 0.25% and 0.5% respectively last week.

Bank of England governor Mark Carney has indicated that the bank may hold back on increasing rates until 2015.

By Tom Brown