Germany slashes growth outlook on Brexit, trade fears

The river Main and its bridges are seen in Frankfurt, Germany, Monday, Jan. 28, 2019. Background left the European Central Bank. (AP Photo/Michael Probst)

BRUSSELS (AP) — Official figures show that the 19-country eurozone economy grew by a paltry 0.2 percent in the final three months of 2018, the same as in the previous quarter.

As a result, Eurostat said Thursday that the eurozone expanded by 1.8 percent in 2018. That's a weak figure after the bloc had started the year predicting only a modest slowdown from 2017's 2.3 percent rate.

Germany, Europe's biggest economy, experienced an unexpected contraction in the third quarter largely due to changes in emissions standards that snarled auto sales. Italy's economy has suffered from a rise in government borrowing rates in financial markets in the wake of the new populist government's spat with the European Commission over its budget plans. And uncertainty over Britain's exit from the EU has weighed on sentiment.

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