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EU out of recession

EU out of recession

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The eurozone’s economy grew by 2% in the second three months of the year, taking the region out of recession.

New figures suggest there was growth in all the individual national economies which reported data.

The 19-nation bloc suffered a so-called double-dip recession when the economy contracted in the previous two quarters.

However, the eurozone remains 3% down from its pre-pandemic level in late 2019.

A recovery is under way in the region after the surge in coronavirus infections in the winter.

In Italy and Spain, two countries whose economies were badly damaged by the pandemic, growth approached 3% in both.

There was an even stronger rebound in Austria and Portugal, with the latter reporting its economy had expanded by 4.9%.

The eurozone’s two largest economies saw more moderate growth, 1.5% in Germany and 0.9% in France.

The growth statistics are first estimates, so there is little detail showing the breakdown of the pattern of recovery.

However, household spending made an important contribution in France, Germany and especially in Spain. In France there was a surge in the hotel and restaurant trade of 29%.

Andrew Kenningham, chief Europe economist at Capital Economics, said Portugal’s rebound might reflect “a slightly less disastrous tourism season than Spain’s”.

He forecast “another strong number for eurozone GDP” in the third quarter of the year, which “would bring the economy close to, but below, its pre-pandemic level”.

In contrast, the US closed that gap, however, US employment is still down and economic activity is below where it probably would have been had there not been the pandemic.

Other new eurozone figures showed the number of people unemployed fell by more than 400,000 in June, though it is still one million higher than the low it hit early last year. (BBC)