ECONOMY

Growth cools in Q4; trend to continue

Greek economic growth slowed in the fourth quarter to the slowest pace since the country adopted the euro in 2001, as a global slowdown hurt consumer spending. Gross domestic product grew by an annual pace of 2.6 percent, versus a revised 2.9 percent in the third quarter, according to the National Statistics Service (NSS). Exports, imports and investment growth eased in the final quarter, the NSS said. Consumer spending «remained at low levels» and imports demonstrated a «significant drop,» it added. Growth across Europe is cooling as the global economy slips deeper into a recession, hurting export demand, and rising unemployment dampens consumer spending. The eurozone economy contracted 1.5 percent in Q4, the most in at least 13 years. «The growth of the Greek economy continued to decelerate in the fourth quarter of 2008. We believe this trend will continue, and intensify, during the coming quarters,» Diego Iscaro, an economist at Global Insight, told Reuters. «Exports will be weighed down by weaker demand from trade partners, while investment will be curtailed by challenging credit conditions and increased concerns about economic outlook.»