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Eurozone crisis live: GDP data could show Europe’s slide into recession

New economic data will show how the eurozone performed in the last three months of 2011. Euro finance ministers will discuss Greece tonight

8.02am: The surprising news this morning is that the French economy grew by 0.2% in the last three months of 2011, defying predictions that it would shrink by 0.2%. The figures have been warmly welcomed by finance minister Francois Baroin, who declared:

Each of the three main components of the economy — foreign trade, household consumption and investment — had a positive contribution in the last quarter of 2011.

This strengthens the government’s forecast for 0.5% percent (growth) this year.

Speaking of France, it appears that Nicolas Sarkozy has joined Twitter this morning, using @nicolassarkozy. Interesting timing – he’s expected to kick off his re-election bid tonight.
http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-02-14/sarkozy-to-seek-french-re-election-playing-his-euro-crisis-leadership-card.html

7.52am: There’s a busy morning ahead — with eurozone GDP, UK unemployment and the Bank of England’s quarterly inflation report all coming up. Here’s the agenda

Italian GDP for Q4 2011 – 9am GMT
UK unemployment data – 9.30am GMT
Eurozone GDP for Q4 2011 – 10am GMT / 11am CET
BoE quarterly inflation report – 10.30am
Eurozone finance ministers conference call – 5pm GMT

7.45am: Good morning, and welcome to our rolling coverage of the eurozone debt crisis.

Coming up today – economic data that will show whether the eurozone economy is now officially contracting. Data from Germany and France has already been released in the last hour – showing that the German economy shrank, but French GDP surprisingly increased.

Greece will still dominate today, even though eurogroup finance ministers have cancelled their planned meeting for this evening. Instead, they will just discuss the situation on the phone.

The meeting was ditched because Greece has not yet found the missing €325m in spending cuts, and Antonis Samaras of the New Democracy party has not signed a letter promising to implement the reforms. Will he sign today?

And even if he does, will that be enough?

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