FRANKFURT – The eurozone economy grew only slightly in the first quarter of the year, after stagnating at the end of last year, according to preliminary Eurostat figures released on Friday.
According to the press release, seasonally adjusted GDP grew 0.1 percent, beating analyst expectations for 0.2 percent growth. Compared to a year earlier, the economy grew by 1.3 percent.
In the wider EU, economic activity grew by 0.3 percent quarter on quarter and 1.3 percent on an annual basis.
Of the largest Member States for which data are available, Portugal (+1.6 percent) recorded the largest quarter-on-quarter increase, followed by Spain, Italy and Latvia (all +0.5 percent). Declines were registered in both Ireland (-2.7 percent) and Austria (-0.3 percent).
Year-on-year growth rates were positive for all countries except Germany, which shrank by 0.1 percent.
According to Oxford Economics economist Rory Fennessy, there is no reason to tighten seatbelts as growth will remain sluggish. “We don’t expect growth to pick up significantly over the course of 2023,” he said after the data was released. “The industry’s robust start to 2023 is likely to be short-lived, while high inflation and tightening financial conditions will weigh on growth this year.”