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Eurozone growth revised down to 1.4% in 2011
 
BRUSSELS, March 7 (BSS/AFP) - The eurozone economy slowed at the end of last year and is now in a "mild recession", EU officials said yesterday in a blow to stock markets already falling on Greek debt worries.

The latest data and comment from the European Union point to
a so-called double-dip recession within three years for the 17-
nation eurozone, still struggling to overcome the debt crisis
which has badly hit confidence.

European stocks fell by about 3.0 percent at bourses in
France and Germany, and the euro was weak, despite a strong
performances in bond issues by Greece and the European Union
rescue fund.

European stocks had begun on a weak note because of
uncertainty about the outcome of a Greek bond swap and debt
writedown, a condition for a rescue of 130 billion euros ($170
billion) to save Greece from a disastrous default.

According to the EU statistics office Eurostat, the eurozone
economy grew by 1.4 percent last year, less than the previously
estimated 1.5-percent growth, and an expansion of 1.9 percent in
2010.

The office confirmed an estimate that output shrank by 0.3
percent in the fourth quarter and revised down growth for the
third quarter from 0.2 percent to 0.1 percent.

The figures track a slowdown at least from the middle of
last year, and on Tuesday the EU's Economic Affairs Commissioner
Olli Rehn said in Paris: "The euro area is currently in a mild
recession."

Recession is taken to mean two quarters running of declining
output, so his remark points to a first-quarter 2012 figure which
is likely to show that the economy shrank again.
 
 
 
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