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Growth among the world's leading nations fell sharply to just 0.1pc in the final three months of last year as the eurozone crisis triggered fears of a second credit crunch, according to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation & Development (OECD).
The Paris-based think-tank estimated the level of output for the OECD region from each country's provisional estimate. The UK was one of a clutch of economies to shrink in the final quarter of 2011, the largest of which were a 0.7pc decline in Italy and a 0.6pc decline in Japan. Britain contracted by 0.2pc, the same as Germany.
The backward-looking data reflected the mounting fears of the euro crisis spinning out of control. Economists have since grown more sanguine about prospects, largely as a result of the "Draghi bazooka" – the European Central Bank's emergency funding scheme for lenders named after ECB chief Mario Draghi.
The ECB pumped €489bn into the banking system in December through its three-year funding operation, and is expected to do as much again on February 29. The move is widely considered to have staved off a banking crisis, preventing a catastrophic repeat of the credit crunch of 2008 and 2009.