Eurozone economy shrank in last quarter of 2011 but grew overall
THE eurozone economy shrank by 0.3pc in the last quarter of 2011 but it grew by 1.5pc for the year as a whole.
The Eurostat statistics agency said the final quarter decline followed growth of 0.1pc in the third quarter.
Earlier figures showed that the eurozone's two biggest economies France and Germany were stronger than expected in the three-month period but Italy and the Netherlands fell into a recession.
Europe’s biggest economy, Germany, shrank by 0.2pc in the last three months of 2011, as its exports were hit by the euro zone debt crisis.
Germany’s statistics office Destatis said foreign trade had a negative effect on the German economy in the period, but consumer spending also declined slightly.
The German economy, which grew by 3.7pc in 2010, grew by 3pc for the year 2011.
The French economy grew by 0.2pc in the final quarter, according to its national statistics institute INSEE.
Italy's economy declined more than expected by 0.7pc in the same period.
Official statistics agency ISTAT reported that gross domestic product in the euro zone's third largest economy was down 0.5pc year-on-year, also worse than expected.