Overall economic growth in developed nations slows

Europe's debt crisis caused economic growth to slow dramatically in the world's developed nations in the last three months of 2011, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development said.

Overall growth in the 34 economies that make up the OECD was just 0.1% in the fourth quarter, a big drop from the already tepid 0.6% in the previous quarter, the group said in its quarterly report Monday.

The European Union was the big culprit, with the economy there contracting 0.3% in the fourth quarter, the first contraction since the second quarter of 2009. Italy's economy contracted 0.7%.

France was the only major European economy that saw positive growth from October through December. Its gross domestic product — the value of all goods and services produced there — was a weak 0.2%.

But problems weren't limited to Europe. The Japanese economy also contracted 0.7% in the fourth quarter.

The U.S. economy was one of the few bright spots in the fourth quarter, with 0.7% growth. That was up from 0.5% in the previous quarter

Overall last year, the economies of OECD nations grew 1.8%, a big drop from 3.1% in 2010.

jim.puzzanghera@latimes.com

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