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Eurozone growth slows; Italy, France falter: data

Eurozone

BRUSSELS: Eurozone second quarter growth slowed sharply, official data confirmed Friday, weighed down by Brexit concerns and a poor performance in struggling France and Italy.

Growth in the 19-nation eurozone came in at 0.3 percent, down from 0.6 percent in the three months to January, but the figures were unchanged from the initial estimate given last month, the Eurostat statistics agency said.

The 0.3 percent quarterly gain was in line with analyst forecasts compiled by data company Factset.

Analysts said at the time of the initial estimate last month that uncertainty in the run-up to Britain’s shock June 23 vote to quit the European Union had likely dampened activity after a very strong first quarter.

They said this will continue to crimp growth until Britain’s future relationship with the EU is clarified.

Compared with a year earlier, the eurozone economy expanded 1.6 percent in the three months to June, also unchanged from the initial estimate.

Germany, Europe’s biggest economy did better than expected with a gain of 0.4 percent in the second quarter, down from 0.7 percent in the first.

On the downside, second-ranked France slumped to zero growth from 0.7 percent while third-placed Italy, whose banks are under great pressure in a faltering economy, was in the same boat after a rise of 0.3 percent.

Spain, bouncing back strongly after years in recession, grew 0.7 percent, just down from the 0.8 percent expansion of the first quarter.

Non-euro Britain meanwhile gained 0.6 percent after 0.4 percent.

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