A new report shows that economic growth slowed in some of the world's biggest economies in early 2014 for the second straight three-month period.
The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development
said Tuesday that the collective economies of its 34 member nations increased just four-tenths of a percent in the January-to-March period. That was down from a half percentage point gain in the last quarter of 2013, and from an advance of seven-tenths of a point in the July-to-September quarter last year.
The Paris-based group said early 2014 growth varied widely by country. The OECD said Japan advanced 1.5 percent in the first quarter and Germany by eight-tenths of one percent. But it said the economies in the United States and France were almost flat, while Italy's economy dropped a tenth of a point.
Europe's 18-nation eurozone gained two-tenths of a point, but the European Central Bank could soon cut a key benchmark interest rate in an effort to boost growth and cut unemployment. In the U.S., however, the central bank, the Federal Reserve, has been steadily trimming its direct economic stimulus as the country recovers from sluggish first quarter growth that was impacted by an unusually cold and snowy winter.