In the 17-member eurozone, the gross domestic product fell 0.1 percent compared to the same quarter of 2011. In the 27-member European Union, the GDP rose 0.1 percent compared to the same period of 2011, Eurostat said in the second of three estimates on economic output for the continent.
The stagnant economies follow quarterly figures that were nearly as stagnant with annual gains of 0.7 percent in the eurozone and 0.8 percent in the EU from the fourth quarter of 2011 from the fourth quarter of 2010.
By comparison, the GDP in the United States rose 0.5 percent in the first quarter compared to the final quarter of 2011. In Japan, the GDP rose 1 percent from the fourth quarter 2011 to the first quarter of 2012.
In the annual quarter-to-quarter time span -- first quarter of 2011 to first quarter of 2012 -- the GDP in the United States rose 2 percent, while in Japan it rose 2.6 percent.
In Europe, the highest gain from the fourth quarter of 2011 was in Latvia with the GDP up 1 percent. Compared to the first quarter of 2011, the highest gain was also in Latvia, up 5.5 percent, followed by Estonia, where the GDP rose 4 percent.
The largest decline from the fourth quarter of 2011 was in Hungary with the index down 1.3 percent. The largest drop from the first quarter of 2011 was in Greece with a GDP decline of 6.2 percent.
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