Brussels This has never happened before in the history of the euro: last year the euro zone grew faster than the other two major economic areas in the world, the USA and China.
As the European statistics authority Eurostat announced on Tuesday, the gross domestic product in the euro area grew by 3.5 percent in 2022 as a whole. In the fourth quarter there was a surprising slight increase of 0.1 percent compared to the previous quarter. Economists had expected a 0.1 percent drop.
This puts the euro zone in first place ahead of its two competitors for the first time. The Chinese economy grew by just 3 percent last year. The USA achieved growth of 2.1 percent.
However, the unusual order is due to the special features of the corona pandemic. China’s economy was slowed down by the long lockdown. However, economists expect the country to regain its long-standing top spot in the current year after Beijing abandoned the zero-Covid policy.
The strong performance of the euro zone was also a consequence of the course of the pandemic. After the restrictions were lifted, southern European countries experienced a tourism boom that lifted average growth across the currency area.
Ireland is growing particularly strongly, Lithuania brings up the rear
In the fourth quarter, Ireland achieved the strongest growth compared to the previous quarter (plus 3.5 percent). Lithuania shows the strongest decline (minus 1.7 percent). In Germany, the gross domestic product (GDP) shrank by 0.2 percent.
For the current year, the EU Commission expects a significant slowdown in the euro zone to just 0.3 percent growth. The consequences of the Ukraine war, above all the high energy prices, are hitting Europe harder than the USA and China. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) is forecasting higher growth of 0.7 percent for the euro zone.
Germany is likely to fare poorly compared to other EU countries. The IMF predicts a mini plus of 0.1 percent. France’s GDP, on the other hand, is expected to grow by 0.7 percent. Italy (0.6 percent) and Spain (1.1 percent) are also expected to develop better than Germany.
With agency material
More: IMF expects better times for the world economy again