The eurozone economy shrank by 0.2% during the second quarter, as the European statistical office Eurostat confirmed yesterday morning. The publication of this information is confirmation of the figure put forward on 14th August. In all the 27 countries that form the European Union, Eurostat had forecast that the contraction was also 0.2% between April and June, although the revised report released yesterday by the organisation corrects the data putting the fall at 0.1%.
Activity in Europe is leaning towards a new recession after growth was zero in the first three months of the year in both the eurozone and the European Union. Compared with the same period last year, GDP fell by 0.5% between the countries that share the euro and 0.3% among the EU-27.
There are important differences between the countries that share the single currency. Germany, the Netherlands, Austria and, to a lesser extent, France, are better able to resist the onslaught of the crisis while Spain, Italy or Portugal suffer more strongly the effects of the economic downturn.
GDP in the second quarter fell by 0.4% in Spain, by 0.7% in Italy and by 1.2% in Portugal. For Greece, for which there was no data on any quarterly change, the fall came to 6.2% compared with the same period last year, the biggest in the whole of Europe. Other countries in central and northern Europe have also suffered severe contractions. The biggest of all in this group has been that of Finland, with a fall of 1.1%, followed by Belgium (-0.6%) and Denmark (-0.5%).
El Pais reported that Germany resisted the downward trend and registered growth of 0.3% compared to the first quarter, while France recorded its third consecutive quarter of stagnation.
Outside the euro, the UK confirms it is in recession, with a fall in GDP of 0.5% in the second quarter, after recording negative data in the two previous periods. The best data registered in the EU are for Sweden, with an increase of 1.4%, Latvia, whose economy experienced an improvement of 1%, and Slovakia (0.7%).
As for the components of the GDP, household consumption fell in the second quarter by 0.2% in the eurozone and the EU, after falling 0.2% and 0.1% in the previous period, respectively. Fixed capital formation fell by 0.8% in the eurozone and by 0.9% in the EU-27 (in the first quarter the decreases were of 1.3% and 0.7%, respectively).
Exports rose by 1.3% in the eurozone and by 1% in the EU (after increasing by 0.7% and 0.5%, respectively, in the first quarter) and imports grew by 0.9% in both zones after dropping by 0.2% in the previous three months.