Brexit, Italy, trade: Risks piling up for Europe’s economy



David McHugh | AP

FRANKFURT, Germany — Europe’s five-year economic expansion is facing a mid-life crisis as it copes with a potential debt explosion in Italy, a U.S.-China trade war and the risk of a disorderly British exit from the European Union.

How those risks play out will decide whether the economic upswing that began in early 2013 and created 9.5 million more jobs ages gracefully for several more years — or meets an early demise.

The economy of the 19 countries that use the euro stumbled in July-September, when quarterly growth halved to 0.2 percent. Some see that as a natural slowdown after much stronger, trade-fueled expansion of 0.7 percent at the end of last year.

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