The eurozone economy has moved out of recession, according to unexpectedly strong data published on Wednesday (14 August) by Eurostat, the EU’s statistical agency.
Economic output rose by 0.3 percent across both the euro area and the EU28 during the second quarter of 2013, compared with the previous quarter.
Surprisingly, it was Portugal which, despite recent social unrest and political turmoil over its bailout programme, saw the biggest jump in growth, with its economy growing by 1.1 percent.
Finland and Germany recorded growth of 0.7 percent, while, France recorded a 0.5 percent growth rate, which will dampen concerns that the country’s economy will remain stagnant in 2013.
The statistics indicate that the European economy is recovering faster than expected and could post an overall growth rate for 2013. In May, the EU executive forecast that the eurozone economy would contract by a further 0.4 percent over the course of 2013, with the bloc returning to modest growth in the second half of the year.
That said, Ireland and Greece, both of which are receiving financial rescue programmes from the EU, were among a group of seven countries which did not provide data.
In a statement, EU eurozone commissioner Olli Rehn described the news as “encouraging” and said that “the European economy is gradually gaining momentum.”
However, he cautioned against over-confidence.
“There are still substantial obstacles to overcome: the growth figures remain low and the tentative signs of growth are still fragile; the averages hide important differences between Member States,” he added.
Cyprus had the weakest figures, with its economy contracting by a further 1.4 percent on the previous quarter.
The Netherlands and Spain also remained in recession.