Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 19 April 2014

EU economy exceeds expectations

Europe's economic growth has exceeded expectations

Europe's economic growth has exceeded expectations thanks to record-breaking gains in Germany.

The 16-nation eurozone grew by 1% in the second quarter - up from 0.2% in the first quarter, and higher than market expectations of 0.7% growth.

The figures, from EU statistics agency Eurostat, also showed that on an annual basis, the eurozone economy grew by 1.7%.

Germany set the bar as it reported a higher-than-expected growth rate of 2.2% in the second quarter.

The rate of output - the fastest pace seen in Germany in two decades - is twice the 1.1% improvement seen in the same quarter in the UK.

The positive results will bring some relief to the UK, which will need to see an improved eurozone economy to stimulate its own exports.

But while economists have acknowledged the figures are to be welcomed, many think the second quarter will be as good as it gets for the eurozone in 2010, as governments across the region pursue a raft of austerity measures to cut ballooning debt levels.

Carsten Brzeski, an economist with ING in Brussels, said the figures were a "clear sign the eurozone coped with the sovereign debt crisis better than expected", but he added that the "eurozone growth story is still pretty much a German export story".

Mr Brzeski said the German economy, the largest in Europe, was in a "league of its own" and put the impressive growth down to a catching up in the construction sector after the harsh winter and strong foreign demand for German goods.

But Mr Brzeski warned the current growth momentum was not sustainable, and was likely to slow back down to normal levels in the coming months. Jennifer McKeown, senior European economist at Capital Economics, warned peripheral eurozone economies could still return to recession.

Latest News

Latest Sport

Latest Showbiz