Euro economy shrank at end of 2020

FRANKFURT, GERMANY (AP) — The European economy shrank by a smaller than expected 0.7 per cent in the last three months of 2020 as businesses in France and Germany weathered a renewed round of anti-COVID-19 lockdowns somewhat better than expected.

That consolation in official figures released yesterday couldn’t erase a gloomier outlook for this year, as the 19 countries that use the euro are expected to lag China and the United States (US) in bouncing back from the worst of the pandemic.

For the year, the eurozone shrank 6.8 per cent, according to European Union (EU) statistics agency Eurostat.

The growth figures underscored a rollercoaster year of freakish economic data, with a plunge of 11.7 per cent in the second quarter, the biggest since statistics started in 1995, followed by a rebound of 12.4 per cent in the third quarter in late summer. The winter wave has meant new restrictions on travel, business and activity, but companies in some sectors such as manufacturing have been better able to adjust than services businesses such as hotels and restaurants.