Euro zone economic growth was driven mainly by investment and rising inventories over the last three months of 2021, as household consumption dropped because of another wave of Covid-19 infections.

The European Union's statistics office Eurostat confirmed its earlier estimates that gross domestic product in the 19 countries sharing the euro rose 0.3% on a quarterly basis and by 4.6% on an annual basis in the three months from October to December.

Investment added 0.7 percentage points to the quarterly growth number, inventories a further 0.3 points and government spending 0.1 points.

However, household consumption subtracted 0.3 points and net trade took away another 0.6 points.

Year-on-year trade also made a negative contribution, but household consumption was the leading growth factor adding 2.8 points to the final growth figure, with investment adding 0.9 points, public spending another 0.6 points and inventories 0.8.

Meanwhile, employment in the euro zone in the last three months of 2021 continued to rise, increasing by 0.5% quarter on quarter and 2.2% year-on-year, Eurostat said.