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The Eurozone economy has contracted every single quarter since the end of 2011. During the first three months of 2013, the region’s GDP shrank by a punishing 0.6pc, having fallen at a similar pace the quarter before.

Responding to this prolonged slump, the European Central Bank on Thursday cut interest rates. Having last shifted 10 months ago, the ECB lowered its main rate by a quarter point to 0.5pc, while signalling it is prepared to go even further. “We remain ready to act if needed,” said ECB President Mario Draghi.
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