Wednesday’s economic growth numbers make it official: the Euro zone is in its longest recession since records began in 1995. The 17-nation economy shrank by 0.2% between January and March, compared with last quarter's decline of 0.6%, deepening the bloc's recession as economic output fell for the sixth consecutive quarter.
European Union governments and institutions must take immediate action to promote growth and jobs creation as countries are tired of austerity, European Council President Herman Van Rompuy said this week.
The Euro zone slipped deeper into recession in the last three months of 2012 after its largest economies, Germany and France, shrank markedly at the end of the year. It marked the bloc's first full year in which no quarter produced growth, extending back to 1995.
The finance ministers of the G20 group of nations are meeting in Moscow amid concerns that major trading powers may be heading towards a currency war. Japan's monetary stance has seen a big decline in the Yen, while the Euro has risen against a basket of currencies.
European Central Bank President Mario Draghi admitted on Thursday policy makers are concerned that the Euro strength will hamper their efforts to pull the economy out of recession and although the exchange rate is not a policy target, he confirmed “it is important for growth and price stability”.
French President François Hollande called on the Euro zone on Tuesday to develop an exchange rate policy to help protect the common currency from “irrational movements”. His comments came amid growing concern that the Euro, now trading around 1.35 to the US dollar, is too strong and could undermine the country’s exporters and hence wider economic growth.
Moody's Ratings agency announced it has downgraded the European Stability Mechanism (ESM) and European Financial Stability Facility (EFSF) from Aaa to Aa1, with negative outlook on each.
Global growth is set for a sharp slowdown next year and the Euro zone debt crisis “remains the greatest threat to the world economy at present,” the OECD warned on Tuesday. In its latest Economic Outlook the OECD also cautioned that “the risk of a new major contraction cannot be ruled out” after a global slump in 2009.
Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy conservative Popular Party on Sunday retained power in his home region of Galicia despite recession and biting austerity measures, official results showed.
The IMF on Thursday backed giving debt-burdened Greece and Spain more time to reduce their budget deficits, cautioning that cutting too far, too fast would do more harm than good.