The statistical office of the European Union (Eurostat) confirmed this week that the eurozone economy contracted by 0.6% in the fourth quarter of 2012, compared with the previous three months.
Year-on-year, the gross domestic product (GDP) fell by 0.9%, which is in line with the first estimate and forecasts of the analysts.
The data represents an acceleration in the economic downturn for the region, since the economy fell by 0.1% in the third quarter, and 0.6% year-on-year.
El Economista reported that in the whole of 2012, the GDP of the seventeen countries that share the single currency fell by 0.6%, while that of the European Union declined by 0.3%.
Among the eurozone countries for which data are available, only Estonia (+0.9%) and Slovakia (+0.2%) were able to maintain some expansion in their business activity, albeit at a slower pace in the third quarter, while the most notable declines were observed in Portugal (-1.8%), Italy (-0.9%) and Spain (-0.8%).
Thus, seven of the seventeen eurozone member countries (Spain, Italy, Cyprus, the Netherlands, Portugal, Slovenia and Finland) were in recession in the fourth quarter, in addition to Greece, whose data has not been updated, while Luxembourg, which recorded a contraction in activity in the third quarter, has not yet submitted its fourth quarter data, making a total of nine countries of the eurozone which may have ended 2012 in recession.