Photo: AFP
Photo: AFP

Third quarter GDP growth in the eurozone missed economist estimates as Italy edges closer to a recession, casting doubt on the European Central Bank’s path toward normalizing monetary policy.

Growth for the quarter was a meager 0.2%, versus 0.4% expected by economists surveyed by Reuters.

The disappointing flash estimate released by Eurostat comes after data from Italy showed the country’s economic growth had slowed to zero.

While ECB President Mario Draghi has suggested that the economic slowdown is due in part to temporary factors, analysts say the slower than expected growth raises the possibility that policymakers will reconsider the current timeline for ending asset purchases.

Concerns about Italy’s proposed budget and the prospect of a no-deal Brexit have both injected further uncertainty into forecasts.

S&P Global Ratings said Tuesday that the breakdown of Brexit talks is increasingly likely and that a no-deal UK exit would plunge the country into a long recession, according to The Financial Times.