BRUSSELS: Official figures show the economy of the 17 countries that use the euro shrank in the second quarter of the year, putting the currency bloc one step closer to recession.
Eurostat, the EU's statistics office, says Tuesday that the eurozone contracted 0.2 percent from the previous three-month period. Had the economy contracted in the first quarter, instead of staying flat, the eurozone would be in recession - officially defined as two straight quarters of falling output.
The eurozone as a whole has been lifted by the strength of the German economy, Europe's biggest. Earlier, figures showed Germany growing a greater-than-expected 0.3 percent during the quarter.
Six euro countries are in recession - including Greece, Spain, Italy, Cyprus and Portugal, which have also asked for international assistance to deal with their debts.