Eurostat – the statistics division of the European Commission – has revealed that the Eurozone economy expanded 1.5% last year, in spite of a 0.2% contraction from the third quarter to the fourth.

Despite representing a decline on the twelve-nation area’s 3.3% GDP increase in 2000, last year’s annual growth compares well with that in the US (1.2%) and Japan (-0.5%), though the Q4 decline contrasts with 0.3% expansion in America in the equivalent period.

However, the EC predicts a return to growth this quarter, albeit just 0.1%–0.4% up on Q4, before the pace quickens to 0.4%–0.7% in Q2. “These forecasts confirm that the slowdown is over,” declared the EC, “but suggest that the recovery will be moderate.”

Data sourced from: The Wall Street Journal Online; Eurostat; additional content by WARC staff