The euro zone economy shrank more than previously estimated in the final three months of last year.
The latest revised data shows it was the deepest ever quarterly fall. Gross domestic product in the 15 countries that were then using the euro contracted 1.6 percent from the previous quarter. The EU statistics office Eurostat originally calculated the drop at 1.5 percent. The third quarter of 2008 was also weaker than originally thought. The biggest factors were a collapse in external trade and investment. With these new figures it is now known that the euro zone economy grew by just 0.8 percent in the whole of last year. That is less than a third of the region’s 2.6 percent growth in 2007 and less than the 1.1 percent in the United States for that year. There was an immediately reaction on the foreign exchange markets. The euro fell sharply against the dollar as the figures suggested the euro zone’s contraction this year could be even deeper than previously expected.