Eurozone Q2 growth revised upward to 0.4%


BRUSSELS: The 19-nation eurozone grew by 0.4 percent in the second quarter, official data showed on Tuesday, revising upward a first estimate that triggered worry the crisis in Greece had destabilized growth in Europe.

Last month, the EU’s Eurostat agency said the eurozone grew by just 0.3 percent in the April to June period, lower than what analysts expected.

Eurostat also updated the first quarter growth figure from 0.4 percent to 0.5 percent, boosted by high-growth Ireland which was not included in earlier estimates, a Eurostat official said.

The more upbeat data comes as concerns are growing about the global economy, hit by a
slowdown in powerhouse China that has spooked financial markets.

The revised figures still demonstrate that the eurozone economy suffered a slowdown in the first half of 2015, despite a massive European Central Bank stimulus program to boost the fragile recovery.

“The upward revision may prompt some suggestions that the eurozone economy does not need any more policy support,” said Jonathan Loynes, chief European economist at Capital Economics.

“But the figures are obviously backward-looking and don’t incorporate the latest deterioration in the outlook caused by external developments like the concerns over China, nor the recent rise in the euro,” he added.

Eurostat said that all members of the eurozone expanded in the second quarter, except France, the bloc’s second biggest economy, which posted zero growth.

Export champion Germany, the bloc’s top economy, grew at the eurozone average, by 0.4 percent.

Greece managed 0.9 growth in the period that was deeply marked by a political crisis dividing leftist-led Athens with its eurozone creditors.

Spain saw growth in the period shoot up by one percent, well above the eurozone average, leaving it the best example of post-crisis recovery despite a high rate of unemployment.
Sluggish Italy saw its first estimate adjusted upward to 0.3 percent, from 0.2 percent.

“With upward revisions to both the first and second quarters, a 1.5 percent growth rate for 2015 comes back within reach,” said Teunis Brosens of ING bank.

“Today’s figures show that the eurozone economy was continuing its modest recovery in the second quarter. The first indications for the third quarter are more of the same,” he added.

However, the ECB said last week that the recovery in the euro area would continue at a slower pace than previously anticipated because of the turbulence from China.

“There is the very real risk that slowing growth in the emerging markets centered on China not only hits eurozone exports but also has an appreciable negative impact on eurozone business sentiment and leads to a scaling back of investment and employment plans,” said Howard Archer, economist at IHS Securities.


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