Eurozone growth smashes forecasts

Wednesday, August 16th, 2017
Last Update: 10:11
The economies of the 19 countries sharing the euro currency expanded by more than previously forecast, as a slew of positive data suggest that the recovery in the bloc is well on track.Eurozone gross domestic product (GDP) expanded by 0.6 percent in the second quarter compared with the first three-month period of 2017, boosting the bloc΄s annualized growth rate to 2.2 percent.

Both rates of economic expansion were higher than the 2.1 percent expected by 28 economists in a poll conducted by the news agency Reuters.

The latest flash estimate published by the European Statistics Office, Eurostat, on Wednesday showed 0.6 percent growth also for the wider 28-nation European Union. In the first quarter of 2017, GDP grew by 0.5 percent in both zones.

The figures come after a deluge of GDP figures from individual European countries showed strong economic health on the continent.

Outperformers all over Europe

Perhaps the most astonishing growth was reported in the Czech Republic, where GDP expanded by an impressive 4.5 percent on the year in the second quarter, some 1.5 percentage points above forecasts and up from 3 percent in the first quarter of the year.

Romanian GDP also accelerated strongly, rising at 5.9 percent on the year in the second quarter and marking a step up from the first quarter΄s 5.7 per cent growth.

In the Netherlands, the economy grew 1.5 percent quarter-on-quarter, outpacing expectations for just 0.6 percent growth in its fastest quarterly pace since the start of monetary union 17 years ago.

Poland΄s economy expanded at 3.9 percent year-on-year, beating forecasts for 3.8 per cent growth.

In Italy, the economy grew 0.4 percent quarter-on-quarter, in line with forecasts, and 1.5 percent year-on-year, slightly ahead of expectations.

Hungary΄s economy grew at an impressive 3.2 per cent year-on-year, but this marked a pullback from the 4.2 percent pace seen in the first quarter, and was a little shy of forecasts.

Europe΄s biggest economy, Germany, also grew at a robust yet unimpressive clip of 0.6 percent, with private household spending offsetting a weak quarterly contribution to growth by falling trade.

uhe/tr (Reuters, dpa, AFP)

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