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Eurozone growth hits 0.4% in 4th quarter of 2016

Eurozone growth hits 0.4% in 4th quarter of 2016

ATHENS: Growth in eurozone remained resilient in the fourth quarter of 2016, but slightly less than an earlier estimate, data showed on Tuesday.

The EU’s Eurostat statistics agency said growth in the eurozone landed at 0.4 percent in the fourth quarter of 2016, revising down the 0.5 percent estimated on January 31. The figures show that recovery in Europe remains on pace despite the significant unknowns of Brexit and the policies of the new Trump administration in the US.

The data still meant that the eurozone economy grew by 1.7 percent in 2016, exceeding the United States which gained 1.6 percent last year. The 28-member EU as a whole grew by 1.8 percent, Eurostat said.

Faster growth came on a spike in consumer demand in France and Spain while Germany’s export-driven economy remained on a solid course. The economy in Spain grew by 3.0 percent in 2016, while Germany grew by 1.8 percent, Eurostat said.

Greece, which is once again in the headlines over debt troubles, last year slipped out of recession, growing by 0.3 percent. The growth spurt will put pressure on the European Central Bank to scale back its controversial stimulus measures.

The ECB, led by its chief Mario Draghi, is at pains to stress that despite the series of positive economic signals, it may be too soon to pull back on the programme.