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Eurozone officially out of recession

LONDON — The eurozone has emerged from recession after a record 18 months of economic contraction.

The bloc’s GDP grew by 0.3 per cent in the second quarter of 2013, slightly ahead of forecasts, the Eurostat agency said.

The growth was widely expected after the German economy rose 0.7 per cent between April and June.

However, the overall figure masks the mixed economic fortunes among the countries that make up the 17-country eurozone area.

Germany and France both posted stronger-than-expected growth, expanding 0.7 per cent and 0.5 per cent respectively.

Portugal, among the smallest and the weakest eurozone economies, showed the fastest growth, at 1.1 per cent.

The country was one of three that had to take a multi-billion-euro bailout.

But Spain, which had to seek outside support for its struggling banking sector, saw its economic output fall by 0.1 per cent on the quarter.

Italy and the Netherlands both saw output drop by 0.2 per cent.

European Commission Vice-President Olli Rehn said the figures suggested the European economy was gradually gaining momentum, but added there was no room for complacency.

“There are still substantial obstacles to overcome: the growth figures remain low and the tentative signs of growth are still fragile,” he said.

“A number of member states still have unacceptably high unemployment rates; the implementation of essential, but difficult reforms across the EU is still in its early stages. So there is still a very long way to go.”

Analysts from Capital Economics said: “The return to modest rates of economic growth in the eurozone as a whole won’t address the deep-seated economic and fiscal problems of the peripheral countries.” (BBC)

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