Advanced economies retreat in last quarter: OECD

The economies of advanced countries shrank in the final quarter of last year, giving a twist to broad slowdown in 2012, data from the OECD showed on Tuesday.

And in the whole of 2012, OECD economies grew by 1.3 percent from the level in 2011, when output had expanded by 1.9 percent.

Overall, the economies of OECD countries shrank by 0.2 percent in the fourth quarter of last year after a rise of 0.3 percent in the third quarter.

The economy of the United States slowed down to about zero growth in the fourth quarter from growth of 0.8 percent in the third quarter.

On a 12-month comparison, the OECD economies grew by 0.7 percent, a sharp slowdown from growth of 1.2 percent in the third quarter.

The Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development, which groups 34 advanced countries, said that the contraction in the last quarter, from output in the previous quarter, was the first since a sharp reversal of 2.3 percent in the first quarter of 2009.

Output by the 27 members of the European Union shrank by 0.5 percent, the OECD said, highlighting contraction of 0.6 percent in Germany, the first since early in 2009.

The economies of Britain and France shrank by 0.3 percent, a reversal from growth of 0.9 percent in Britain in the third quarter of and 1.0 percent in France.

The Italian economy continued shrinking for the sixth quarter in a row, by 0.9 percent, the biggest setback since the first quarter of 2009.

In the third quarter Japan had shown the sharpest slowdown of the top seven countries and in the fourth quarter it shrank by less, by 1.0 percent.