OECD economies contract for first time since 2009

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OECD economies contract for first time since 2009

OECD economies contract for first time since 2009
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More signs of global economic slowdown have emerged.

The world’s richest countries – those in the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development – saw a contraction in economic activity in the final three months of last year.

The eurozone continues to struggle and economists expect the region to decline again in the current quarter before finally returning to moderate growth later this year.

OECD economists said the eurozone suffering a steep drop at 0.6 percent from the previous quarter, Japan’s GDP fell 0.1 percent and the US economy neither grew nor shrank.

For all the 34 OECD members, the decline was 0.2 percent.

France to miss growth target

French President Francois Hollande has acknowledged the country will miss its 0.8 percent growth target for this year.

Earlier his foreign minister, Laurent Fabius, said French growth this year would be no better than around 0.2 to 0.3 percent.

“For 2013, everyone knows we will not reach the 0.8 percent that was predicted,” Hollande told a joint news conference with Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras.

He said France would wait for the European Commission’s new economic outlook, due on Friday, before issuing a new target at the end of March.

The admissions add to concerns that the eurozone’s second-largest economy is on the brink of recession, and that Paris will have to roll out even bigger spending cuts to meet its deficit-cutting goals.

On Monday, Finance Minister Pierre Moscovici would not comment on a media report the Socialist government may add some five billion euros onto the 60 billion euros in spending cuts it is already targeting over five years.