The euro zone economy notched up modest growth in the final three months of last year, showing the bloc has little muscle to shrug off the globe's mounting economic problems. 

After a week where stock markets around the world plunged, the euro zone failed to lift the gloom with data showing that growth of its gross domestic product was just 0.3% in each of the final two quarters of 2015. 

This will add to pressure on the European Central Bank to ramp up its €1.5 trillion money printing scheme to buy chiefly government bonds when governors meet in March.

Having spent much of their firepower, however, options are limited. 

The picture varied across the euro zone, which spans economically strong countries such as Germany in the north to Greece or Portugal in the south, both of which required financial rescues. 

The euro zone's biggest member, Germany, posted steady economic growth in the final quarter of 2015, as higher state spending to cope with an influx of refugees and construction offset a drag from foreign trade. 

But Italy barely grew during the same period as domestic demand was slow. Economic output edged up a quarterly 0.1% at the end of last year.

Meanwhile, growth in France slowed to 0.2% from 0.3% while Spain led the pack with another gain of 0.8%.

Outside the euro zone, Britain rose to 0.5% from 0.4%. 

The European Union's statistics office Eurostat said gross domestic product rose 0.3% quarter-on-quarter in the last three months of last year, the same as between July and September. 

Year-on-year, the euro zone economy expanded 1.5%, also as forecast by economists. Yet the final six months of 2015 lagged the start.

For the full 28-nation European Union, the economy gained 0.3% in the fourth quarter, down from 0.4% in the third, and expanded by 1.8% for the year.

The data painted a bleaker picture for European industry, from car-making to mining. Industrial output fell 1%month-on-month in December - a 1.3% year-on-year fall. 

This was worse than expected by economists who had predicted a 0.3% monthly rise and a 0.8% annual increase in production. 

Relative calm returned to world markets today after a hurricane-force week that wiped billions off share prices and saw investors dash for shelter in top-rated government bonds and gold. 

Japanese policymakers said today they would seek a global policy response from G20 nations to world market turbulence, as the country's central bank governor dismissed suggestions the rout was caused by the bank's new negative interest rate policy. 

Deep-rooted concerns remain, however, not least about the slowing in the one-time engine room of the globe's economy, China.