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Recession grips the eurozone. The economy of the 17-nation bloc contracted by 0.6pc over the fourth quarter of 2012, we learnt last week, a much worse result than expected and the third consecutive quarter of real GDP decline.

The worst performers were the Portuguese, Italian and Spanish economies, which shrunk by 1.8pc, 0.9pc and 0.7pc respectively compared to the previous three months. But “core” members also dragged on the currency union’s performance, with national income falling in France, Austria and the Netherlands too. Even Germany stumbled, the region’s economic powerhouse losing a shocking 0.6pc of GDP between October and December.
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