Eurozone reports sluggish growth, failing to meet expectations

The German economy expanded less than expected in the final three months of 2016, dragging down growth in the 19-nation eurozone.

Europe’s largest economy expanded by 0.4% between October and December, according to the German statistics office, Destatis. This was lower than the 0.5% forecast by economists. German growth in the third quarter was revised lower too, to 0.1% from 0.2%.

With Italian growth also disappointing, economic conditions in the eurozone at the end of last year were not quite as rosy as previously thought. Eurostat, the European commission’s stats office, cut its growth estimate from 0.5% to 0.4%, the same pace as in the third quarter, with industrial production down sharply in December.

Germany, generally regarded as Europe’s economic powerhouse, is lagging behind the UK, which grew at 0.6% in each of the last three quarters. Despite uncertainty caused by the Brexit vote, consumer spending has stayed strong in Britain, although it is expected to slow in coming months as rising inflation starts to eat into people’s pockets.

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