To round off the poor economic news for the end of 2012, estimates for fourth quarter GDP growth for most of the eurozone countries were published today. Output across the 17 member bloc contracted by 0.6% in the three months to December compared with the previous quarter. Inevitably there was some variation in performance across the region, but the direction was pretty much one way - down.
% quarter on quarter change in GDP
Overall that leaves eurozone GDP around 0.5% lower in 2012 than in 2011. The good news is that the scale of the actual contraction last year wasn't anything like as bad as some of the worst case forecasts that we presented a year ago, when the possibility of a break-up of the eurozone was still very much on the table.
That said, there have been consequences for UK exporters. Goods exporters from the UK, particularly to the euro-periphery fell last year. Sales to the rest of the world compensated to a degree, growing by almost 5% year-on-year. EEF's Executive Survey showed that just under half of survey respondents expected to see some growth in their business as a result of increasing sales to emerging markets. With weak demand likely to persist in Europe this approach will need to become a mainstay of manufacturers' strategies, particularly if the UK is to get on track to meet the government's stretching target to double exports by 2020.
% change in goods exports by market