The UK economy grew 0.5% in the last quarter of 2014. The economy recorded its strongest annual growth since 2007 (2.6%), which was the fastest of any major economy. The 0.5% growth in the final quarter was slower than the 0.7% growth recorded in the third quarter. This slowdown was partly due to a contraction in the construction sector. Industrial production also contracted by 0.1%, while the manufacturing sector expanded by 0.1%. The services sector expanded by 0.8% and is the only sector back to its pre-crisis strength.
The Eurozone experienced modest growth in the last quarter of 2014, with growth of 0.3%, stronger than the 0.2% which had been forecasted. Despite the Eurozone experiencing three successive quarters of growth, large parts of the currency area were either close to stagnation or still contracting. Germany’s economy increased by 0.7%, greater than the 0.3% which had been predicted. The French economy increased by 0.1%. Italy’s economy stagnated over the quarter, beating expectations of a 0.1% contraction. This was the 14th consecutive quarter of no growth for the Italian economy. Greece’s economy also contracted in the fourth quarter while the Netherlands and Portugal both recorded strong growth of 0.5%.
Over the fourth quarter, US economic growth slowed with the country’s economy expanding at an annualised rate of 2.6%, much slower than the 5% growth in the third quarter and less than the 3.2% growth predicted by economists. The slowdown of the economy was mainly due to weak business spending and a wider trade deficit offsetting the fast pace of consumer spending.
China recorded its slowest growth since 1990. Its economy grew by an annualised rate of 7.3% in the fourth quarter. The Japanese economy emerged from recession in the final quarter of 2014. The world’s third-largest economy grew at an annualised pace of 2.2% in the fourth quarter, less than the forecast 3.7%.
This report contains quarterly statistics data for markets around the world.