The UK economy suffered in the fourth quarter with a contraction of 0.3%, increasing the fear that Britain could re-enter recession (economists are predicting that another contraction in the first quarter is quite possible, given the recent snow that has fallen in the UK).
There was an unexpected result in the United States, as its economy shrank for the first time since the global recession of 2009. A growth of 3.1% in the third quarter was followed by a contraction of 0.1% in the fourth quarter, as a result of the spending cuts and tax rises which were due to come into force on 1 January 2013. Japan is firmly in recession, as the world’s third-largest economy shrank by 0.1% in the fourth quarter. Japan’s key engines of growth, exports and corporate capital outlays, continue to show fragility.
The Eurozone has continued to struggle and dropped deeper into recession. The Eurozone’s GDP dropped by 0.6%, the sharpest contraction since the beginning of 2009, and worse than the forecasted drop of 0.4%. Germany, Italy and France all performed worse than predicted, contracting 0.6%, 0.9% and 0.3% respectively. Germany was hit by a large decline in exports, although economists remain upbeat about its outlook. Italy has now been in recession since the middle of 2011, its longest slump since 1993.
This report contains quarterly statistics data for markets around the world.