Broad-based growth in Eurozone confirmed after boom year

Jasper Jolly
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The Portuguese economy has boomed over the last year (Source: Getty)

Economic activity held up strongly across the Eurozone at the end of last year, as updated European Commission data showed overall GDP growth slightly faster than an early rough estimate.

The second estimate of growth by Eurostat, the statistics agency, confirmed that GDP grew by 0.6 per cent in the final quarter of the year, with separate industrial production figures rising to a new post-financial crisis high.

In December, seasonally adjusted industrial production rose by 0.4 per cent in the Eurozone, adding to a 5.2 per cent increase over the course of 2017.

Read more: Eurozone growth strongest in a decade in 2017

The slight slowdown from the 0.7 per cent expansion in the third quarter was less than previously thought, with 0.59 quarter-on-quarter growth, above the 0.56 per cent previously thought.

The Eurozone economy has enjoyed a remarkable turnaround over the past year, with a stronger global economy helping the bloc to an impressive performance during 2017. Today's figures confirm that last year saw the strongest growth in a decade.

Economists have been particularly cheered by the broad-based nature of growth, which has seen expansions in peripheral countries as well as the core large economies.

Read more: Euro jumps as ECB minutes hint at response to booming growth

Portugal saw an acceleration of 0.7 per cent during the final quarter, while the Dutch economy expanded by 0.8 per cent. Finland saw an even bigger expansion, with a 1.1 per cent boom in only three months.

The momentum should continue, given strong leading indicators such as economic sentiment, said Carsten Hesse, European economist at German bank Berenberg. He said: "Neither a stronger euro nor political uncertainty – Italian elections, Catalonian referendum, prolonged German 'grand coalition' negotiations – had a significant negative impact on the Eurozone economy."

The strength of the recovery has prompted the European Central Bank (ECB) to seriously consider withdrawing some of the stimulus it has provided since the financial crisis. The ECB is currently scheduled to buy bonds from member states until September, with most independent economists believing they will stop the quantitative easing purchases after that.

Read more: Eurozone inflation falls as energy price rises slow

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