Eurozone posts weak GDP growth in Q4; Germany meets expectations
France's Finance Minister Christine Lagarde (L) European Union Economic and Monetary Affairs Commissioner Olli Rehn (C) and Eurogroup chairman, Luxembourg's Prime Minister Jean-Claude Juncker (R) attend a eurogroup meeting at the European Union council headquarters in Brussels February 14, 2011. REUTERS

Gross domestic product in the 16-member eurozone rose 0.3 percent in the fourth quarter of 2010, the European Union's statistics office said on Tuesday.

The growth rate, which was the same as the third quarter figures, fell short of analysts' estimate of 0.4 percent, according to Eurostat data.

The modest rise in euro-zone GDP growth in Q4 is likely to have been partly down to one-off weather-related factors, suggesting that the recovery may regain momentum at the start of this year, Jonathan Loynes, chief European economist at Capital Economics said.

In Germany, fourth quarter growth expectations were largely met with GDP rising 0.5 percent while the figures from France, Italy, Spain and Netherlands were disappointing. In Greece, the economy contracted sharply by 1.4 percent from the previous quarter.

The disappointing growth figures for the peripheral economies emphasise that 2011 will be another tough year there, Loynes said in a note.

French GDP posted a modest gain of 0.3 percent while Italy grew by just 0.1 percent and Spain by 0.2 percent. Growth in Netherlands was put at 0.6 percent.

With the peripheral economies set to remain very weak this year and the export recovery in the core likely to lose at least some steam, we continue to expect the euro-zone economy to expand by a below-consensus 1% or so in 2011, said Loynes.