Ukraine war curbs euro zone growth in Q1 - preliminary data
BRUSSELS, April 29 (Reuters) - Euro zone economic growth was slower than expected in the first three months of the year, preliminary data showed on Friday, as the war in Ukraine started on Feb 24 hit economic activity.
The European Union's statistics office Eurostat said gross domestic product in the 19 countries sharing the euro rose 0.2% quarter-on-quarter for a 5.0% year-on-year gain. Economists polled by Reuters had expected 0.3% quarterly growth.
The European Commission also forecast just before the Russian invasion that growth would be 0.3% quarter-on-quarter, so the preliminary Eurostat data, if confirmed later, would suggest the war and related commodity price spikes cut growth by 0.1 percentage points.
Eurostat said Italy's economy contracted 0.2% in the first quarter against the previous three months, which would make it the biggest euro zone casualty of the conflict. In February, the Commission forecast Italy would grow 0.3%.
Germany, expected by the Commission to grow 0.4% in the first quarter grew by only 0.2%, Eurostat said and France recorded no growth according to Eurostat against a Commission February forecast of 0.1% expansion.
(Reporting by Jan Strupczewski; editing by Philip Blenkinsop)