Euro zone Q4 GDP falls less than estimated

Growth in the euro zone at the back end of 2020 may not have sagged as much as feared.

Gross domestic product fell less than initially estimated in the last quarter, and employment edged higher against the previous three months.

That was despite lockdowns across much of the region.

Fresh estimates Tuesday (February 16) showed that output in the 19 countries sharing the euro contracted 0.6% quarter-on-quarter.

And employment actually grew 0.3% over the last three months of 2020.

Although it was lower than in the same period a year earlier.

There were also encouraging numbers out of Germany on Tuesday.

Investor morale rose beyond even the most optimistic forecast in February.

That was on expectations consumption will take off in the coming months.

The ZEW economic research institute said its survey of investor sentiment showed a rise to just over 71 points.

That's up almost ten points on the previous month.

A Reuters poll had pointed to a fall.

The ZEW President said in a statement that "consumption and retail trade in particular are expected to recover significantly, accompanied by higher inflation expectations."

The German Economy Ministry said earlier in the week that lockdown measures will continue to weigh in the first quarter of 2021.

But prospects for exporters are seen cautiously positive.