Euro area GDP enters technical recession after 0.1% drop in 1Q23, first time since beginning of pandemic

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CdM| The Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of the euro area recorded a contraction of -0.1% in the first quarter of 2023, marking the entry into technical recession of the region’s economy, following the fall in activity also of -0.1% in the fourth quarter of 2023, according to the latest revision of the figure published by Eurostat. In this way, the community statistics office has revised its previous estimate, published in mid-May, which pointed to a 0.1% expansion in the euro area’s GDP between January and March, down by two tenths of a point.

This is the first recession recorded in the euro area economy since GDP contracted consecutively in the first and second quarters of 2020, as a result of the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic and the restrictions implemented.

Meanwhile, in the European Union (EU) as a whole, the economy managed to grow by 0.1% between January and March, following the 0.2% contraction observed between October and December 2022.

Compared with the first quarter of 2022, the economy of the euro area and the EU as a whole grew by 1.0 per cent in each case.

According to Eurostat’s seasonally adjusted figures, GDP volumes in the euro area and the EU were 2.2% and 2.9%, respectively, higher than the level recorded in the fourth quarter of 2019, before the Covid-19 pandemic. (In the case of the United States, GDP was 5.4% higher than the level in the fourth quarter of 2019).

Among the EU countries for which data were available, the strongest GDP growth in the first quarter of the year was in Poland (+3.8%), ahead of Luxembourg (+2%) and Portugal (+1.6%). By contrast, the worst economic performance was observed in Ireland (-4.6%); Lithuania (-2.1%), and the Netherlands (-0.7%).

Among the largest EU economies, Germany entered recession with a first quarter GDP contraction of 0.3%, following a 0.5% fall in the previous three months, while France’s GDP increased by 0.2%, after stagnating in the fourth quarter of 2022, and Italy’s increased by 0.6%, following a 0.1% contraction between October and December last year. In Spain, GDP grew by 0.5 per cent in the first quarter of 2023, compared with growth of 0.4 per cent in the previous three months.

In year-on-year terms, the highest GDP growth was recorded in Spain (+3.8%), ahead of Cyprus (+3.4%) and Malta (+3.2%), while the largest contractions were observed in Estonia (-3.7%); Lithuania (-2.7%) and Hungary (-1.1%).

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