BRUSSELS, Belgium – The eurozone climbed out of recession at last with better-than-expected growth of 0.3% in the second quarter led by Germany and France, the European Union said on Wednesday, August 14.
Data agency Eurostat said the 18-month downturn, which has cost millions of jobs and crushed debt-laden governments, ended thanks largely to surprise gains of 0.7% in Germany and 0.5% in France.
Analysts had tipped a 0.2% increase for the 17-nation bloc, home to some 340 million people who have struggled through 6 consecutive quarters of falling output.
Behind the headline gains, the third- and fourth-largest eurozone economies of Italy and Spain pulled up short, with their economies shrinking 0.2% and 0.1%, respectively.
The Netherlands also shrank once more, by 0.2% in the second quarter, but bailed-out Portugal posted a strong return with 1.1% growth.
No figures were immediately available for Greece or Ireland, both also bailed out during the debt crisis.
But Portuguese authorities said that Portugal, also under a rescue program, emerged from recession with growth of 1.1% in the quarter from output in the first quarter.
Eurostat noted that comparable figures for the United States and Japan came in at 0.4% and 0.6%, respectively. – Rappler.com
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