The WSJ reports:
The record contraction in the euro-zone economy in the fourth quarter was even sharper than initially estimated, fueling fears that it will take longer for the currency block to recover from recession, final figures showed.
Gross domestic product contracted 1.6% from the third quarter and 1.5% from a year earlier in the final three months of 2008 in the 15 countries that then used the euro, the biggest contraction by both measures since records began in 1995, the European Union's Eurostat statistics agency said. The euro zone added a 16th country, Slovakia, on Jan. 1.
"Worryingly, it is far from inconceivable that euro-zone GDP contraction was even deeper in the first quarter of 2008, given largely dire data and survey evidence," said Howard Archer, chief U.K. and European economist at IHS Global Insight.