16 Feb 2012

Italy and Holland now in recession

7:03 am on 16 February 2012

Italy and the Netherlands are now in recession, according to the latest economic figures.

Both saw their economies shrink by 0.7% in the fourth quarter, the second consecutive quarter of economic contraction.

Germany had its first negative quarter since 2009 with a decline of 0.2%, compared with the previous quarter.

But France had growth of 0.2% at the end of last year, which is attributed to growth in exports.

Confidence in France was undermined in January when it lost its AAA credit rating, after Standard & Poor's, downgraded the nation's debt.

Overall economic activity shrank 0.3% in the fourth quarter in the 17 nations in the eurozone. But the eurozone is not in recession the overall growth was 0.1% in the third quarter.

The BBC reports Europe's debt crisis has already pushed Greece, Portugal and Belgium into recession, which is defined by two consecutive quarters of contraction.