Economic recovery in the eurozone accelerated in the first quarter, boosted by a return to growth in France and Italy.
Outpacing both the UK and US economies, the single-currency bloc grew by 0.4% between January and March, improving on the fourth quarter of 2014, when gross domestic product increased by 0.3%. It was the fastest rate of growth in almost two years.
The French economy smashed expectations, expanding by 0.6% in the first quarter following zero growth in the previous quarter. Italy also returned to growth, with GDP expanding by 0.3%, and Spain was a star performer, growing by 0.9%.
Peter Vanden Houte, an economist at ING, said a country breakdown of the figures suggested the eurozone’s recovery was becoming more widespread. He warned, however, that the region’s crisis-hit economy was not out of the woods yet, partly because Greece’s debt problems remain unresolved.
“Growth is clearly broadening across the eurozone. That said, the jury is still out whether eurozone growth has reached enough escape velocity to see a self-sustained recovery.
“A resolution for the Greek problems will also be needed to lift the uncertainty that still prevents businesses to increase investment.”
The Greek economy shrank by 0.2% in the first three months of the year, plunging the troubled country back into recession following a 0.4% fall in GDP in the previous quarter.
via The Guardian