According to provisional figures released by the EU’s statistical office Eurostat, the euro area and the entire European Union both reported economic growth of 0.3 percent in the fourth quarter of last year. The Netherlands is keeping up with the euro area: as announced by Statistics Netherlands (CBS) yesterday, Dutch GDP also rose by 0.3 percent.
In the third quarter of 2015, the eurozone economies combined grew by 0.3 percent while the EU28 economies recorded a slightly higher growth rate in the previous quarter at 0.4 percent. The Netherlands performed below average at the time with 0.1 percent growth.
Compared to the final quarter of the previous year (2014), year-on-year GDP growth in the euro area was 1.5 percent, while the combined GDPs of the EU28 economies were up by 1.8 percent from one year previously.
Gains and losses
The largest economy in the eurozone Germany recorded 0.3 percent growth in the fourth quarter, as did the Netherlands and Belgium. GDP growth in the second largest economy France came to a halt at 0.2 percent, after a 0.3 percent rise in the previous quarter; France’s growth rate is still better than the 0.1 percent in Italy. Italy’s economy slowed down in each quarter of last year.
Greece ended the final quarter of last year with a growth deficit again, although at 0.6 percent it was less pronounced than in the third quarter, when the Greek economy contracted by 1.4 percent. The latter figure is a correction on previous reports, which stated that the Greek economy contracted by only 0.5 percent in the third quarter.
Among all EU28 members, Estonia recorded the highest growth rate (1.2 percent), followed by Poland and Romania (both 1.1 percent). Spain’s GDP growth rate was also far above average with 0.8 percent, continuing a particular trend: Spain ranked above EU averages in each quarter of 2015.
Growth rates outside the euro area
Although GDP went up in both the United States and the UK, growth was less significant than in the previous quarter: 1.8 percent and 1.9 percent respectively. In the previous quarter, growth was still 2.1 percent. The euro area economies grew by 1.5 percent in the fourth quarter, more slowly than the US and the UK. The EU28 had a similar growth rate, 1.8 percent.
Russia’s economy is still contracting, although at 3.8 percent contraction has slowed down from the previous quarters. Low oil prices and economic sanctions have had a negative impact.
China’s GDP has seen fast-paced growth for years. However, last year’s pace was slower compared to several years ago. In the fourth quarter of 2015, the growth rate stayed below 7 percent (6.8), just as one quarter previously. GDP growth boasted 9.4 percent in early 2011.