Berlin - The eurozone economy lurched deeper into recession during the final quarter of last year, analysts expect data to be released on Thursday to show.
Economists are predicting the European Union's statistics office Eurostat will say that the 17-member currency bloc's economy shrank by 0.4 per cent during the fourth quarter after slumping by 0.1 per cent in the three months to the end of September.
This would represent the third successive quarter of contraction in the eurozone and comes in the wake of the tough round of fiscal austerity rolled out across the region aimed at bringing to an end the long-running debt crisis.
The eurozone economy slumped by 0.6 per cent in the final quarter of 2012 when compared with the same period in 2011, analysts say the data will show.
The release of the latest quarterly eurozone growth figures will follow the publication by the German statistics office on Thursday of the data showing Europe's biggest economy contracted as 2012 came to an end.
In a preliminary estimate published last month, the Wiesbaden-based statistics office said it believed the nation's economy shrank by 0.5 per cent in the fourth quarter after it grew by a very modest 0.2 per cent in the three months ending September.
Still, Germany is expected to avoid the recession gripping large parts of the eurozone.
Key indicators have already pointed to the nation's economy rebounding as it entered 2013. - Sapa-dpa