Euro area continued its expansion at the end of 2017, as previously estimated, taking the full-year growth to a decade-high.
Gross domestic product climbed 0.6 percent sequentially, following third quarter’s 0.7 percent expansion. The rate came in line with the preliminary flash estimate published on January 30.
On a yearly basis, GDP growth eased slightly to 2.7 percent from 2.8 percent in the preceding period. The annual rate also matched the previous estimate. No breakdown of data is currently available from the statistical office.
For the whole year 2017, GDP grew 2.5 percent, the fastest in a decade.
Largely driven by foreign demand, Germany’s GDP grew 0.6 percent sequentially in the fourth quarter, but slightly slower than the 0.7 percent expansion seen in the third quarter.
Despite a slowdown in Germany, it was the major factor for euro area growth. Spain also expanded strongly, by 0.7 percent, but slower than the preceding three month’s 0.8 percent expansion.
On the other hand, France, Dutch and Portugal posted faster growth. France’s growth improved to 0.6 percent on foreign demand.
Dutch GDP growth doubled to 0.8 percent from 0.4 percent. Portugal’s growth came in at 0.7 percent, up from 0.5 percent a quarter ago.
Italy’s logged a weaker growth of 0.3 percent following third quarter’s 0.4 percent expansion.
Citing stronger cyclical momentum in Europe and better-than-expected pick-up in global economic activity and trade, the EU had raised its growth projection for the euro area to 2.3 percent in 2018 from 2.1 percent.
Likewise, the forecast for next year was upgraded to 2 percent from 1.9 percent.
In a separate release, Eurostat said industrial production grew for the third consecutive month in December. Industrial production rose 0.4 percent from November, when it climbed 1.3 percent.
An acceleration in industrial production growth was not enough to prevent a slight slowdown in eurozone GDP growth in the fourth quarter, Stephen Brown, an economist at Capital Economics, said. Nevertheless, the economic outlook is bright.