BRUSSELS - Economic growth in the 19 countries sharing the euro currency slowed as expected at the start of 2018, EU statistics agency Eurostat said in its preliminary flash estimate.
Gross domestic product (GDP) in the euro zone expanded by 0.4 percent in the first quarter compared to the last quarter of 2017 and by 2.5 percent year on year, Eurostat said on Wednesday.
This was in line with economists' forecasts, but well below the 0.7 percent quarterly rises seen in the previous three quarters.
Economic sentiment data slipped in March but remained broadly unchanged in April, leading analysts to forecast that the euro zone economy will ease back to still healthy growth levels of about 2 percent year-on-year in the coming quarters.
However, it was unlikely to rebound to the 2.5 percent expansion seen in 2017.
Confidence took a dip in part over concerns about a trade war with the United States, which could still be sparked if Washington imposes tariffs on steel and aluminium imports from the European Union. A decision on this is due by June 1.
In a separate statement, Eurostat said unemployment in the euro zone was stable in March at 8.5 percent.