Eurozone escapes recession: Eurostat
AFPBRUSSELS -- Growth figures on Wednesday confirmed that the eurozone finally escaped a damaging 18-month recession in the second quarter but the bloc still lags well behind in global terms.
September 5, 2013, 12:17 am TWN
The economy of the 17-nation eurozone, home to about 340 million people, grew 0.3 percent in the three months to June, the Eurostat statistics agency said in a second estimate.
That compared with a contraction of 0.2 percent in the first quarter, originally given as a negative 0.3 percent.
In the full 27-member EU, the economy expanded 0.4 percent in the second quarter, better than the initial 0.3 percent reading and after shrinking 0.1 percent in the first.
Compared with output in the second quarter 2012, the eurozone shrank 0.5 percent while the EU was flat.
During the same period, the U.S. economy grew 0.6 percent compared with the first quarter and by 1.6 percent compared with a year earlier.
Eurostat said the best performers in the second quarter were bailed-out Portugal with a gain of 1.1 percent, while Germany — Europe's biggest economy — Britain, Finland and Lithuania all expanded by 0.7 percent.
The biggest contractions were in Cyprus, at 1.4 percent, followed by Slovenia 0.3 percent, and in Italy and the Netherlands which both shrank 0.2 percent in the second quarter.
When the second-quarter growth figures were first realized last month, analysts and officials welcomed the end of the recession.
They also voiced concerns on the outlook as the debt crisis continues to undermine the economy and unemployment remains at record highs, dampening demand.
Other data on Wednesday showed that eurozone retail sales in July edged up 0.1 percent by volume after a fall of 0.7 percent in June.
Compared with a July 2012, retail sales were down 1.3 percent, reflecting how the economic slump continues to keep consumer demand, the key driver for economic growth, under pressure.