European economic growth slows;Germany expands 0.4% in Dec qtr

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London, Feb 15 (PTI) European economy expanded at aslower pace than expected in the last three months of 2010,with the 16-nation euro zone growing just 0.3 per cent duringthe period.

Separately, official data released today showed thatGerman and French economies grew 0.4 per cent and 0.3 percent, respectively, in the 2010 December quarter.

These quarterly growth figures are slightly belowexpectations.

"GDP increased by 0.3 per cent in the euro area and by0.2 per cent in the 27-nation European Union (EU) during thefourth quarter of 2010," Europe''s official statistics agencyEurostat said today.

In the year-ago period, euro area and EU had recorded GDPgrowth of 0.3 per cent and 0.5 per cent, respectively.

Euro zone is a grouping of 16 countries including Germanyand France, that share the common currency euro. From January2011, Estonia has joined this grouping as the 17th member.

Germany''s statistical office Destatis said the nationaleconomy expanded 0.4 per cent in 2010 fourth quarter and notedthe growth was "at a slightly slower pace".

The lower expansion in the European nation was mainly onaccount of adverse cold conditions that even impacted businessactivities during that period.

Meanwhile, French GDP rose 0.3 per cent in the Decemberquarter, helped by increased consumer spending, according todata from France''s official agency Insee.

Europe continues to see mixed recovery trends, withcountries such as Portugal, Greece and Spain slowly coming outof the debt turmoil.

Many nations in the region are also grappling with highunemployment levels.

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