The development came after Germany’s Statistics Office said Europe’s largest economy slowed sharply in the second quarter of the year, Reuters reported.

“The weak data for Germany follow recent numbers showing zero growth in France in the second quarter, and raise concerns that the euro area’s hitherto strong core countries are undergoing a much deeper than previously thought soft-patch,” said Chris Williamson, a senior economic expert in London.

Europe’s economic growth slid back to 0.2 percent in the second quarter from 0.8 percent in the first three months of 2011.

The Tuesday plunge was also caused by a slowdown of the Spanish economy.

Also, last week’s data showed France’s economy stagnated in the second quarter.

The latest falls come as a key eurozone crisis meeting is being held between French President Nicolas Sarkozy and German Chancellor Angela Merkel in the French capital of Paris.

The markets were already jittery amid fears that the US and eurozone debt crises could push the global economy back into recession.

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