The Eurozone is set to release preliminary economic growth figures today, with economists projecting GDP growth of 0.4% in the three months to March—a slowdown from the 0.6% figure posted in the final quarter of last year.
Though consensus is lacking, some analysts have suggested that the slowdown is due to temporary factors, such as bad weather and a strong flu season, and should pick back up later in the year. However, others have argued that the salutary effects European Central Bank’s monetary stimulus are wearing off, meaning this could be long-term.
The Eurozone-wide figures have been accompanied by similar statistics from member states. Germany, Italy and Portugal have all seen inflation rates fall from the previous quarter, pointing to a widely-felt slowing.
If the slowdown is sustained it could add to political divisions in the bloc. Italy, for one, still lacks a government two months after a general election. That means Rome lacks the ability to comprehensively address economic ailments, and also that already disaffected voters could be stirred up in a fresh election—as one party leader has threatened—to provide even stronger support to eurosceptic parties.
Nicholas is an Italian politics aficionado. Nick brings his knowledge of southern Europe to bear in The Daily Brief team, where he serves as a senior analyst and editor.