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
France's 0.3 percent fall was also a touch worse than
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.