The euro zone economy jumped out of recession in the third quarter, data showed today, but with slightly less spring than expected after the area’s top three economies fell short of market forecasts.
Gross domestic product in the 16 countries using the euro rose 0.4 per cent quarter-on-quarter after five consecutive quarters of shrinking output, but was 4.1 per cent lower year-on-year.
Economists polled by Reuters had on average forecast quarterly growth of 0.5 per cent and a 3.9 per cent annual decline.
Germany, France and Italy all reported a third-quarter increase in economic output, but the German 0.7 per cent quarterly growth was below expectations of 0.8 per cent, the French 0.3 per cent increase only half of what was expected and the Italian 0.6 per cent fell short of the 0.7 per cent consensus.
The growth ends the deepest economic downturn in Europe since World War Two, brought on by a global financial crisis, but economists say recovery is likely to remain fragile.
The European Commission forecast on November 3rd that fourth-quarter growth would slow to 0.2 per cent quarter-on-quarter in the last three months of 2009 and then to 0.1 per cent in the first two quarters of 2010.
Growth is seen accelerating steadily from the third quarter of 2010 to reach 0.5 per cent in the second quarter of 2011.