PwC comments on fourth-quarter European GDP data

Feb 14, 2020

Barret Kupelian, senior economist at PwC, comments on the latest European GDP data:

"Today’s country breakdown of Eurozone’s GDP growth showed us that the bloc grew by 1.2% in 2019. This rate of expansion is comparable to that of the UK. The US economy, however, grew by 2.3% in 2019, which is around double the rate of the Eurozone and the UK (see Figure below).

The Eurozone performance can be mainly explained by the poor performance of Germany and Italy, which are its biggest and third largest economies respectively. Size matters when it comes to GDP growth rates - a one percentage point increase in the growth rate of Germany and Italy increases Eurozone GDP by 0.5 percentage points.

However, the bright spot in the Eurozone continues to lie in the peripheral economies. With the exception of Greece, all of the bailout economies have surpassed pre-crisis output levels and continue to grow at strong rates. In fact, we estimate that the three bailout economies (Spain, Portugal and Cyprus) which reported Q4 2019 output estimates today, grew by 0.6% quarter-on-quarter compared to virtually no growth in the German, French, Italian and Dutch economies in GDP weighted terms (see Figure below).

Source: PwC analysis using Refinitiv

Eurozone growth could pick up later in the year if the global economy stabilises. However, there are many uncertainties relating to global trade as well as the coronavirus, which could end up disproportionately affecting some of the larger Eurozone economies."

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