THE TAKEAWAY: EZ GDP numbers show little deviance from projections -> First Euro-area contraction since 2009 -> Market focus remains on Greece

Europe’s economy contracted for the first time since 2009 in the fourth quarter of 2011. The economy shrank by 0.3%, which was a slightly smaller contraction than the median forecast which stood at 0.4%. Compared to this time last year, The Euro-area economy grew by 0.7% as expected.

Gross domestic product has lagged in the 17-nation Euro bloc, ever since the onset of a wide-ranging debt crisis which sees the Eurozone facing its second recession in three years. Earlier today, the German stats bureau said than Europe’s largest economy shrank by 0.2% on the quarter. The contractions were expected and priced into the market, and focus now remains on developments in Greece which has unwittingly become ground zero to global economic developments. In this context, today’s data failed to significantly affect the Euro.