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Eurozone economy growth hits highest in decade

Eurozone economy growth hits highest in decade

Growth in the euro zone shot up in 2017, putting Europe at the centre of a global recovery and on par with levels of expansion not seen since before the financial crisis, according to figures released on Tuesday (Jan 30). Economic growth in the euro zone hit 2.5%, far ahead of the 1.8% reached a year earlier, the EU's official statistics agency said.

Europe's economic recovery roared on despite the uncertainty around Brexit, with the EU economies lifted by a resurgent France and Spain. The level, which was also matched by the 28-member EU as a whole, was the highest since 2007 when the euro zone economy hit 3% before the financial crisis implosion.

Growth in the euro area reached 0.6% in the fourth quarter, Eurostat said, on par with a forecast by analysts. In the European Union as a whole, growth also increased by 2.5% in 2017 and by 0.6% in the fourth quarter.

The data lands after the IMF last week said that the global economy is expected to expand at 3.9% this year and next, with advanced economies logging in solid and simultaneous growth, a convergence not seen since the crisis.

Separately, European Commission data showed economic sentiment in the euro zone eased slightly in January to 114.7 from a 17-year high of 115.1 reached in December.

This was a result of a slight decline in sentiment in the retail trade sector, where the mood worsened to 5 from 6 in December and in services, where it declined to 16.7 from 18.

But optimism in industry remained steady at the December new high of 8.8 and consumers were more upbeat at 1.3 points in January against 0.5 in December, signalling the positive trends from late 2017 were continuing.

- Source: RTE