Concerns over a sharp slowdown in the eurozone are rising with its economy growing at its weakest rate in two years, reversing a bumper 2017.
The UK is now expected to have overtaken the eurozone in the second quarter of this year, after official figures showed that the bloc’s economy expanded by only 0.3 per cent between April and June compared with the previous three months. The UK is expected to have grown by 0.4 per cent when the first estimates are released in a fortnight’s time.
The figures from Eurostat, the eurozone’s statistics agency, suggest that the 19-nation bloc is slowing after a last year’s boom. The eurozone is the UK’s biggest trade partner so a slowdown in its economy affects Britain as demand for exports falls.
Last year, the eurozone enjoyed an export-led recovery as it benefited from a pick-up in global trade. Over the year the eurozone economy grew by 2.5 per cent, which was the fastest growth since a 3 per cent rise in 2007 and significantly ahead of the UK’s 1.7 per cent growth.
Expansion had been expected to hold steady from the first quarter at 0.4 per cent, which itself was a slowdown from 0.7 per cent in the fourth quarter of the year.