UK economic growth flat

Containers in port
Getty Images

The UK economy did not grow at all in January, according to the latest gross domestic product figures from the Office for National Statistics.

In the three months to January, the economy also remained flat.

It was the third consecutive month that the three-month measure of GDP had reported no growth at all.

Japan's economy hit by taxes, typhoon and a lack of demand

japan market pic
Getty Images

Japan' economy shrunk at the fastest rate in five years at the end of 2019 as it was impacted by a sales tax rise, a major typhoon and growing disruption from the Coronavirus.

Numbers reported by the Bank of Japan Annualised gross domestic product (GDP) fell by a much steeper than expected 6.3% in October-December.

There are also concerns the coronavirus outbreak will mean the slump continues this quarter.

That has raised fears that the world's third-biggest economy may fall into recession.

During the period Japanese consumer spending fell 2.9% after the country's sales tax was raised in October to 10% from 8%. In the same month Typhoon Hagibis hit large parts of the country.

Last quarter, capital spending dropped by 3.7% and exports slipped 0.1% amid the ongoing US-China trade war.

Investors are now watching to see whether the economy will rebound after the coronavirus forced China to shut down factories and led to a big drop in Chinese tourists visiting Japan.

Eurozone growth lukewarm as France and Italy shrink

Shipyard welder
Getty Images

Eurozone GDP growth slowed to 0.1% quarter-on-quarter in the last three months of 2019, dragged down by France and Italy.

The EU's statistics office, Eurostat, said growth for the period in the 19-country area was 0.9% year-on-year, a downward revision from the previously estimated 1% growth.

The quarterly growth rate was down from the 0.3% expansion seen in the third quarter because of a 0.1% contraction in the second-biggest economy, France, and a 0.3% contraction in the third-biggest, Italy.

As we told you earlier, German growth stagnated.

EU growth numbers fail to climb

truck through a chain linked fence
Getty Images

Eurozone GDP numbers slowed in 2019.

Uncertainty from Brexit negotiations and the Trump trade drama had a knock on effect on the 19-member single currency zone which grew 1.2% percent over the year.

It is a sharp 1.8% drop from 2018 and a plunge from the 2.7% growth reported in 2017.

Inflation numbers rose a percentage point to 1.4% in the fourth quarter of 2019.

European growth stumbles for some EU countries

factory line in cars
Getty Images

Growth numbers from Europe have suprised this morning.

France jolted analysts this morning announcing its economy contracted in Q4 – real GDP fell 0.1% when it was expected to grow +0.2%.

Numbers from Italy proved the most dour from Europe so far where the economy shrunk by 0.3% for the three months ending in 2019.

However, Spain unlike its EU peers offered sunny news. The economy there expanded by 0.5% in the last quarter of 2019.

Here are the year-on-year figures:

France: +0.8%Italy: 0.0%Spain: +1.8%

Why are we obsessed by growth?

Szu Ping Chan examines how we measure economic growth and asks if it can be improved.
Szu Ping Chan takes an in-depth look at how we measure economic growth and asks if it can be improved. Oxford economics professor Diane Coyle argues that GDP is only a partial measure of what happens in an economy. Erik Brynjolfsson of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology makes the case for estimating the value of free internet services in economic activity statistics. And Peter Levell of the Institute for Fiscal Studies tells us falling response rates for those conducting economic surveys could be affecting the validity of the data that emerges as a result.