Euro zone growth rate beats forecasts

Currency bloc expanded by 0.3 per cent in final quarter of 2013

The euro  sign outside the European Central Bank in Frankfurt.  Both of the euro zone’s largest economies, France and Germany, expanded by more than analysts had expected. Photograph: Reuters/Lisi Niesner

The euro sign outside the European Central Bank in Frankfurt. Both of the euro zone’s largest economies, France and Germany, expanded by more than analysts had expected. Photograph: Reuters/Lisi Niesner

Fri, Feb 14, 2014, 20:10

Hopes that the euro zone has put the worst of its economic crisis behind it were boosted

yesterday after growth for the final quarter of 2013 came in better than expected, with more signs that the region’s troubled periphery is starting to benefit from recovery at the region’s core.

Growth in the euro zone gained traction, with the bloc expanding by 0.3 per cent in the final quarter, after 0.1 per cent in the previous three months, beating analysts’ forecasts of a 0.2 per cent rise.

Both of the region’s largest economies, France and Germany, expanded by more than analysts had expected, as did the Netherlands, which grew by a brisk 0.7 per cent.

More heartening still were signs the stronger performance of some of the euro zone’s core economies in recent quarters had spread to the region’s crisis-engulfed periphery.

The Italian economy, the euro zone’s third-largest, grew by 0.1 per cent, in line with expectations, recording its first quarterly expansion since the spring 2011. Portugal smashed expectations, expanding by 0.5 per cent against forecasts of a 0.1 per cent rise. Spain grew by 0.3 per cent, according to figures released last month.

Evelyn Herrmann, economist at BNP Paribas, said: “This is the third consecutive quarter of growth in the euro zone, but comes with the additional charm of much broader-based growth spreading beyond the core-countries.

“Effectively, it was the first time since the first quarter of 2011 that all big five euro zone economies posted positive quarterly growth rates.”

– (Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2014)