Economy

European Union growth approaches pre-crisis levels

European Union growth approaches pre-crisis levels

"We expect the euro zone's upturn to match last year's strong pace in 2018, with annual GDP growth of 2.5 percent". It was the best performance since 2007, the year the global financial crisis began to unfold. European Central Bank policy makers say they're increasingly confident that robust growth will slowly rekindle price pressures, paving the way for a gradual withdrawal of monetary accommodation. Today's figures confirm that a year ago saw the strongest growth in a decade. Government consumption and equipment investment increased, while private spending remained largely unchanged and construction slipped.

The net trade contribution should also be positive. GDP increased 0.8 percent in the fourth quarter, exceeding economist estimates.

That's exactly how strong are the economies of Germany and France can boast, while in Spain they even registered 0.7% growth. GDP increased 0.7 percent in Portugal.

In 2017, the economic growth of the European Union was the most significant for a decade, according to Eurostat.

More news: England captain Dylan Hartley keen to test scrum against Georgia

The momentum should continue, given strong leading indicators such as economic sentiment, said Carsten Hesse, European economist at German bank Berenberg.

The figure follows up growth of 0.9 percent in the first quarter of 2017, 0.6 percent in the second, and 0.7 percent in the third - all adjusted for price, seasonal and calendar effects.

"The economy could continue at its current pace for at least one or two more years without showing signs of overheating", he added. "The acceleration of production growth is unlikely to be a one-off as the outlook for industry remains rosy".

The production surge was fuelled by durable consumer goods such as refrigerators and TV sets, the output of which jumped 2.7 percent on the month in December and was 7.4 percent higher than a year earlier.