OECD economies stagger on

 
Julian Harris
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MEMBERS of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) experienced a slowdown in growth in the final three months of 2010, it said yesterday.

Economies in the OECD grew on average by 0.4 per cent in the fourth quarter, down from 0.6 per cent in the three months to September.

The unwinding of Japan’s stimulus package was partly blamed for its GDP contraction, while severe winter conditions in Europe were cited for disappointing figures in several countries.

Across the European Union, growth fell to 0.2 per cent, down from 0.5 per cent the previous quarter, the OECD said.

Despite a slowdown in German growth at the end of the year – at 0.4 per cent – the Eurozone powerhouse still had the highest annualised increase in GDP from the “major seven” OECD economies.

Annualised German growth in the fourth quarter was four per cent, the OECD said. Italy had the lowest growth of the “major seven,” at 1.3 per cent.

The figures show continued growth in the world economy despite some weather-related effects, according to Neil Prothero of the Economist Intelligence Unit. Yet this does not mask stubborn problems across the OECD, he warned.

“The fiscal outlook in the US remains dire and employment prospects across the OECD are weak,” Prothero said.

FAST FACTS | GDP ACROSS THE OECD

Japan’s economy shrank by 0.3 per cent in the fourth quarter of 2010.

In the US growth accelerated to 0.8 per cent.

In the Eurozone the economy experienced sluggish growth of 0.3 per cent.