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Germany, France to power Euro Zone out of recession

DPA Berlin | Updated on March 12, 2018 Published on August 14, 2013

The eurozone’s forecast return to economic growth followed six consecutive quarters of contraction.

The German and French economies grew stronger than forecast in the three months to the end of June, setting the stage for the end of the Euro Zone’s 18-month long recession, data showed on Wednesday.

While German gross domestic product expanded by 0.7 per cent quarter-on-quarter in the second quarter, France pulled out of recession to chalk up a 0.5-per cent quarterly growth rate, the nations’ statistics offices reported in separate statements.

Figures to be released later on Wednesday by the European Union’s statistics office Eurostat are widely expected to show the Euro Zone grew by 0.2 per cent in the three months to June, after six consecutive quarters of contraction.

Analysts had expected gross domestic product in Germany and France — the Eurozone’s two biggest economies — to have expanded by 0.6 per cent and 0.2 per cent respectively during the second quarter.

Germany now has the fastest growing economy among the Group of Seven leading industrial states, after it rebounded from stagnation during the first quarter.

“At least for the time being, the German economy has returned as the big stronghold, not only for the Euro Zone, but this time even for the global economy,” said ING Bank economist Carsten Brzeski.

Releasing the data, the Wiesbaden-based statistics office revised downward first quarter German GDP from a previously estimated 0.1 per cent growth rate to zero, as a result of a cold, protracted winter and global uncertainty.

Germany’s strong economic performance is likely to boost Chancellor Angela Merkel’s chances of securing a third term in office in a general election due on September 22.

Year-on-year, German GDP grew by 0.9 per cent in the three months ended in June, the statistics office said. Helping to drive German second quarter growth was an increase in domestic demand as well as corporate investment and exports, the statistics office said.

Wednesday’s GDP data followed the release by national statistics offices of figures showing the recession easing in several countries that have been at the centre of the eurozone debt crisis.

This includes better-than-forecast GDP figures from Spain, Italy and Greece.

French President Francois Hollande will also be hoping that the pickup in French GDP will boost his flagging political fortunes as the nation’s government battles to bring its budget deficit under control and combat high unemployment.

The growth figures add to the “encouraging signs of recovery” said Finance Minister Pierre Moscovici.

The French economy grew at its fastest pace since the first quarter of 2011 during the second quarter, with household spending emerging as a key driving force behind the rebound, the Paris—based statistics office said.

French GDP expanded by 0.3 per cent in the three months ended in June, when compared with the same period in 2012.

The positive GDP figures were, however, overshadowed by continuing bad news on the employment front.

The French statistics office also said on Wednesday the number of payroll jobs in market sectors fell 27,800 in the second quarter, after a drop of 8,300 in the first quarter.

Published on August 14, 2013
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