The eurozone economy expanded at its fastest rate in a decade in 2017, preliminary data showed on Tuesday, and sentiment remained high at the start of 2018 despite a slight dip from a 17-year peak.
Slow global trade, auto industry troubles and low water on the Rhine all contributed to a final-quarter growth of zero percent, meaning Europe's biggest economy dodged a technical recession by the smallest of margins.
The European Commission has slashed its 2019 growth forecast by almost a third to 1.3 percent. It has cited "global uncertainties" and "trade tensions" for its decision.
Italy's economy contracted in the last two quarters of 2018, and the slowdown is expected to continue into 2019. Italy's problems are having their effects on the rest of the eurozone.
In most countries, the global financial crisis has led to a ballooning of sovereign debt levels. Large-scale economic stimulus programs and bank bailouts have been a costly affair, a fresh study bears out.
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