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While markets in Asia largely remain closed after the Chinese New Year, virtually all European stock markets have lost at least some ground Thursday.
Italy's output contracted 0.2% in the fourth quarter, on the heels of a 0.1% drop in the third quarter, the statistics agency Istat said on Thursday.
The survey in question was the Insee services-confidence poll. It showed a cliff-edge drop in expectations from France's non-manufacturing companies.
The Rhine is crucial for German industry because it provides an avenue for the distribution of raw materials to German manufacturers.
Germany may have avoided recession in Q4 by just 0.1% because the quarter was one day longer than the previous period
Germany is the fourth-largest economy on the planet and the largest in Europe. So any weakness is concerning.
We now have conclusive proof that Europe is in an economic slump, and that two of its biggest economies are careering towards recession
Industrial production throughout the whole of the eurozone dropped sharply, pointing to only a glacial pace of growth at the end of 2018.
Europe's economic powerhouse is being hit by a cocktail of global issues — a trade war, Brexit, Italy — casting doubts on future growth.
BMW and Mercedes' parent company is the biggest exporter of cars from the USA, and would be badly hit by a Chinese import tax on American cars.
"The Mittelstand is going to be hit by a wave of succession that will change its face," KfW chief economist Jörg Zeuner said.