Eurozone's new year challenges

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Eurozone's new year challenges

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It may be a new year, but there is little new hope for the eurozone.

Having headed off a break up – through Greece and maybe others dropping out – the currency bloc’s leaders now face a challenging year ahead as growth stagnates.

There was a return to recession while unemployment rose in 2012.

The outlook for 2013 is darker with the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development predicting weak growth for the region’s two biggest economies, Germany (0.6%) and France (0.3 ), and further contraction for the next two largest Italy (-1) and Spain (-1.4%).

Chancellor Angela Merkel faces difficult decisions about how much Germany can help the weaker eurozone countries.

In Frankfurt, economist Oliver Roth of Close Brothers Seydler said: “Giving money to the countries they need in the eurozone will be continuously going on, so therefore I think that at the end of the road the policy will not change.”

The biggest question of the early new year is when – or perhaps whether – Spain will ask for a bailout.

Economists have warned Madrid’s delaying tactics are risky at a time when the Spanish economy is contracting sharply.