Europe’s economy shrank 0.6 percent in the first three months of the year as slow vaccine roll-outs and extended lockdowns delayed a hoped-for recovery – and underlined how the region is lagging other major economies in rebounding from the coronavirus pandemic.

The fall in output for the 19 countries that use the euro currency was smaller than the 1 percent contraction expected by economists but still far short of the rebound under way in the United States and China, two other pillars of the global economy.

Figures announced on Thursday showed the US economy grew 1.6 percent during the first quarter, and 6.4 percent on an annualised basis, as strong consumer demand supported businesses.

In Europe, it was the second straight quarter of falling output, meaning the region fell back into a recession despite a rebound in growth from July to September of last year. The latest data covers the quarter that ended March 31 and economists…

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