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Eurozone economic growth in 2019 was slowest in 6 years

Eurozone economic growth in 2019 was slowest in 6 years
The sluggish growth in 2019 is expected to influence monetary policy decisions at the European Central Bank this year. File Photo by Patrick Seeger/EPA-EFE

Jan. 31 (UPI) -- Economic growth last year for the eurozone was the lowest it's been in six years, mainly hampered by slowdowns in France and Italy, the European Commission said Friday.

The commission said 2019 eurozone growth was 1.2 percent, and barely grew at all in the final three months. Third quarter growth was 0.3 percent.

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Weaker performances in France and Italy, the region's first- and third-largest economies, influenced the final eurozone figures.

The 2019 figures are expected to influence the European Central Bank's decisions this year about whether to apply more stimulus measures.

France's economy sagged at the end of last year by a crippling transportation strike opposing plans to reform the French pension system.

"The specter of recession is back," Christoph Weil, an economist at Commerzbank, said. "Economic growth in the eurozone came to a virtual standstill at the end of the year. The [European Central Bank] is likely to view this with concern."

The eurozone also was affected by shrinking markets overseas, as auto companies adjusted to the cost of producing electric cars.

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