Eurozone: Second estimate confirms stalled economy in Q4
February 14, 2019
A second flash estimate confirmed weak growth dynamics in the Eurozone economy at the end of 2018. According to preliminary figures released by Eurostat, GDP increased a seasonally-adjusted 0.2% in Q4 from the previous quarter, matching Q3’s result which had marked the slowest growth rate since Q2 2014. The reading also matched the first preliminary estimate. Compared with the same quarter of 2017, seasonally-adjusted GDP expanded 1.2% in Q4, down from Q3’s 1.6%. Accordingly, growth slowed to 1.8% in 2018, from 2017’s robust 2.4%.
While a breakdown by components is not yet available, soft domestic dynamics likely weighed on growth in the fourth quarter. The Eurozone’s industrial sector floundered, with industrial production recording the largest contraction since Q1 2013 in Q4. A feeble recovery in automobile production following the implementation of new emissions tests in Q3 hampered the result, while a slowdown in emerging markets, geopolitical concerns and other temporary shocks further hobbled the recovery. In addition, economic sentiment deteriorated notably in Q4, despite a tightening labor market.
Additional data released by national statistical institutes across the Eurozone painted a weak picture of growth. Germany’s economy narrowly avoided a technical recession in the fourth quarter, eking out zero growth Italy’s economy, however, did slip into technical recession in Q4, while growth held up in France despite the onset of the ‘gilets jaunes’ protests.