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Eurozone slips back into recession

Growth in core countries such as Germany and France couldn't counteract the plunges in long-struggling nations such as Spain and Italy. Portugal took an especially nasty 0.8% dive.

November 15, 2012|By Tiffany Hsu, Los Angeles Times
  • Protesters hold placards reading "Stop evictions" as they attend a demonstration during a general strike in Valencia, Spain.
Protesters hold placards reading "Stop evictions" as they… (Jose Jordan, AFP/Getty…)

The Eurozone is back in a recession, its first in three years, as gross domestic product for the debt-plagued 17-nation bloc contracted 0.1% in the third quarter from the earlier quarter.

Two consecutive quarterly slips make a recession — in the second quarter, the currency collective tightened 0.2%, according to the official European Union statistics agency Eurostat. Compared with the third quarter last year, the Eurozone's GDP was down 0.6%.

It's one more piece of bad economic news for the Eurozone. Eurostat said last month that unemployment in the bloc was at a record high of 11.6%. Protests and strikes rippled across Europe on Wednesday.

Growth in core countries such as Germany and France couldn't counteract the plunges in long-struggling, austerity-bound nations such as Spain and Italy. Portugal took an especially nasty 0.8% dive.

Even countries that had been expanding took a dive, with the Netherlands experiencing a 1.1% squeeze and Austria contracting 0.1%. Germany's growth slowed to 0.2% in the third quarter from 0.3% in the second.

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France, however, reversed a string of flat or down quarters with a 0.2% expansion.

The wider, 27-member European Union escaped recession, its GDP advancing 0.1% in the third quarter after tightening 0.2% in the second. In Britain, fresh off the Summer Olympics, the economy boomed 1% after a 0.4% drop.

A separate Eurostat report Thursday showed annual inflation in the euro-currency area down to 2.5% in October, from 2.6% the previous month.

In a speech Thursday, European Central Bank President Mario Draghi urged governments to avoid tax hikes in favor of spending cuts as a strategy for fiscal consolidation. He also stressed the need for "calm pragmatism" going forward.

"It is essential that all parties involved in Europe's large and complex path of reforms stick to their commitments," Draghi said.

tiffany.hsu@latimes.com

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