The economy of the Eurozone has grown at an annual rate of 1.8% in 2018, according to the second estimate of the data published by the European statistical office, Eurostat. This supposes the lowest rate of growth since 2014 and a deceleration of six tenths compared to the previous year, as a result of the stagnation of Germany and the recession of Italy in the last quarter.
In the fourth quarter, the growth of the Eurozone's GDP has been 0.2%, in line with the rate of expansion registered in the three previous months, while compared with the last quarter of 2017, the year-on-year growth was 1.2%, four tenths less than in the previous quarter.
In the whole of the European Union (EU), GDP has grown by 1.9% in 2018, half a percentage point less than in 2017, after the economic expansion weakened one tenth in the fourth quarter of the year compared to the third quarter, to 0.2%, while in interannual terms it registered a growth of 1.4%, four tenths less than the figure of the preceding quarter.
The deceleration of the growth rate of the Old Continent reflects the stagnation of Germany in the fourth quarter, when the largest European economy managed to dodge the entry into technical recession after the 0.2% drop in GDP in the third quarter, something that Italy did not achieve, which registered a contraction of 0.2% between October and December, after the fall of 0.1% of activity in the third quarter of 2017.
For its part, France it has managed to maintain an expansion rate of 0.3% in the last quarter of 2018, in line with the growth of the third quarter and above the average of the euro zone, despite the uncertainty about the impact of the protests of the «yellow vests».
In this way, among the largest economies in the euro zone, only Spain has accelerated its growth rate in the fourth quarter, going from 0.6% between July and September to 0.7% between October and December, its highest rate of quarterly expansion throughout 2018. Compared to the fourth quarter of 2017, Spain's GDP has maintained year-on-year growth 2.4%.