The euro-area economy succumbed to a recession for the second time in four years as governments imposed tougher budget cuts and leaders struggled to contain the debt crisis that broke out in October 2009.
Gross domestic product in the 17-nation bloc slipped 0.1 percent in the third quarter after a 0.2 percent decline in the previous three months, the European Union’s statistics office in Luxembourg said today. The result matched the median forecast in a Bloomberg News survey of 44 economists, as unexpected strength in Germany and France was outweighed by contractions elsewhere.
Europe’s economic malaise is deepening as governments across the region impose budget cuts to narrow their fiscal deficits. Spain and Cyprus this year joined the list of countries seeking external aid, following Greece, Portugal and Ireland. Unions across the region have held protests against austerity measures.
“Overall I think it’s remarkable that we haven’t seen so far in the last year a stronger decrease in economic activity considering the strength of the euro-zone debt crisis,” said Alexander Krueger, chief economist at Bankhaus Lampe in Dusseldorf. “Stopping the downward trend is the story for the first half of next year.”