Europe's two largest economies, Germany and France, both shrank markedly in the last three months of 2012,
suggesting the euro zone has slipped deeper into recession.
The German economy contracted by 0.6 percent on the quarter, official data showed on Thursday, marking its
worst performance since the global financial crisis was raging in 2009.
France's 0.3 percent fall was also a touch worse than expectations.
Worryingly for Berlin, it was export performance - the motor of its economy - that did most of the damage
although economists expect it to bounce back quickly.
"In the final quarter of 2012 exports of goods declined significantly more than imports of goods," the German
Statistics Office said in a statement.