In Europe, recessions abound

May 15, 2012 at 1:31 PM
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BRUSSELS, May 15 (UPI) -- Eurostat, the statistical agency of the European Union, confirmed Tuesday the economies of the Europe were stagnant in the fourth quarter.

In the 17-member eurozone, the gross domestic product was unchanged. In the 27-member European Union, it was up 0.1 percent.

Both figures are part of a flash estimate, a preliminary report that could change as more data become available.

The estimate, however, shows the economies of Portugal and Slovenia have dropped for four consecutive quarters. Greece, which is suffering from a recession headed into its fourth year, has no data listed in the report.

The Czech Republic, Italy, Cyprus, the Netherlands, and Portugal are listed with three consecutive quarters of contraction.

Denmark and Ireland are listed with consecutive negative quarters starting with the third quarter of 2011, but no estimate listed for the most recent quarter.

Spain, where the economy was flat in the third quarter from the second in 2011, is now listed with two consecutive quarters in which the economy shrank. Hungary, meanwhile, does not show two consecutive quarters of contraction -- the widely accepted definition of a recession -- but it does show its economy shrank in the third quarter of 2011, was flat in the fourth quarter last year, and shrank in the first quarter of 2012.

The report shows Bulgaria, Latvia, Lithuania, Slovakia, Finland and Poland with no negative numbers although there is no first quarter figure for Poland in the report.

France and Austria have also avoided negative quarters, although they have two quarters out of the past four in which the economy fell flat.

In Germany, where the economy shrank 0.2 percent in the fourth quarter, the economy rebounded in the first quarter of 2012, with its GDP up 0.5 percent January through March.

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