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Euro zone economic growth weakens


Euro zone economic growth weakens


In the week that the European Central Bank considers its next interest rate move, the latest data give the policymakers little cause to adjust the cost of borrowing.

Euro zone inflation pressures are easing slightly, helped by lower oil prices, but falling investment and less spending by individuals led to the first ever quarterly contraction in the region’s economy between April and June.

Year on year, economic growth in the 15 countries using the euro was at 2.6% in the third quarter of last year, just 2.1% at the end of 2007 and the start of this year and down to 1.4% in the second quarter of 2008.

Against that backdrop, the foreign exchange value of the euro is coming under further pressure.

For the first time since January, one euro has been worth less than $1.44 as the US currency soared to an 11-month high against a basket of major currencies.

The British pound is in an even worse state, down against the dollar and the euro.

ECB President Jean Claude Trichet and his colleagues are expected to leave interest rates unchanged at 4.25%.

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