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Economy in Brief

Modest Q4 Euro-zone Growth Led by Demand in UK and US
by Carol Stone February 13, 2004

Eurostat's "Flash" GDP estimate for Q4/2003 shows modest growth fairly steady with Q3. The Euro-zone 12 gained 0.3%, a bit slower than Q3's 0.4%, while strength in the UK helped raise the EU15* by 0.4%, the same as in Q3.

Four-quarter growth was a tepid 0.6% in the Euro-Zone. However, improved performance in both the third and fourth quarters of last year establishes a favorable trend entering 2004.

Of the country data available so far, none has been negative for Q4, and on the Continent, France shows the largest gain. But the Addenda items for the UK and the US show that it is those countries that are the engines of growth. [Note that US figures are given at quarterly rates for comparability with the European countries, which customarily report in simple percentage-change terms.]The UK Office of National Statistics notes widespread gains in services industries as the source of strength. In the US, growth in both consumption and investment drove the GDP gain. German officials cite a "relatively strong rise" in domestic demand, which was partially offset by a large increase in imports. All of these comments indicate a variety of sources for the better second-half growth performance in these countries, suggesting that a broad base is being laid for further expansion this year.

Qtr/QtrYear/Year
Percent Changes 4th Qtr/ 4th Qtr
4th Qtr 2003 3rd Qtr 2003 2nd Qtr 2003 2003 2002 2001
Euro-Zone 12 0.3 0.4 -0.1 0.6 0.4 0.9 1.6
EU15* 0.4 0.4 0.0 0.9 0.7 1.0 1.7
Germany 0.2 0.2 -0.2 0.2 -0.1 0.2 0.8
France 0.5 0.4 -0.4 N.A. N.A. 1.2 2.1
Italy 0.0 0.5 -0.1 0.1 0.4 0.4 1.7
Netherlands 0.3 0.0 -0.5 -0.5 -0.8 0.2 1.2
Addenda:
UK 0.9 0.8 0.6 2.5 2.1 1.8 2.1
US (quarterly rates) 1.0 2.0 0.8 4.3 3.1 2.2 0.5
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