Eurozone: Europe is bogged down with debt worries and austerity cuts, so a rise in oil prices could push more eurozone nations into recession. Eurostat reported last week that eurozone GDP contracted at a 1.3% annual rate in the fourth quarter. Italy contracted at a 2.9% annual pace last quarter, while Belgium, Greece, the Netherlands, and Portugal officially fell into recession with their second straight quarter of negative GDP growth.
These four eurozone countries are in a recession, and Italy is on the verge. Only France was able to buck the negative GDP growth by growing at a 0.9% annual pace in the fourth quarter.
Complicating matters further, insults are flying between Germany and Greece over payment of the second installment of the 130 billion euro ($171 billion) rescue package for Greece. Finland, Germany, and the Netherlands are pushing to delay Greece’s aid package until Greek political leaders make good on their promises for more austerity. Read