The euro zone economy grew faster than expected in the second quarter, pulling out of a recession caused by the COVID-19 pandemic as curbs to stop the virus were eased, while inflation shot past the European Central Bank's 2% target in July, APA reports citing Reuters.
The European Union's statistics office Eurostat said on Friday that its initial estimate of gross domestic product in the 19 countries that use the euro currency was growth of 2.0% quarter-on-quarter and 13.7% year-on-year.
Economists polled by Reuters had expected a 1.5% quarterly and a 13.2% annual increase.
Among the outperformers were the euro zone's third and fourth largest economies, Italy and Spain, with quarterly growth respectively of 2.7% and 2.8%. Portugal's tourism-heavy economy expanded by 4.9%.
The euro zone has suffered two technical recessions - defined as two quarters of contraction - since the start of 2020, with coronavirus curbs hitting most recently in the period spanning the end of 2020 and the start of 2021.
The zone's GDP was largely dragged down in the first three months of this year by weakness in Germany where a lockdown from November had curbed private consumption.
Europe's largest economy returned to growth in the second quarter, but at 1.5% quarter-on-quarter, it was less strong a rebound than expected.
The French economy, the euro zone's second largest economy, grew by 0.9%, just ahead of forecasts, with a third lockdown gradually being eased from May.
However, many euro zone countries are facing new waves of infections with the more transmissible Delta variant.
Figures on Thursday showed the U.S. economy grew at a slower than expected 6.5% annualised rate in the second quarter, pulling GDP above its pre-pandemic peak, as massive government aid and vaccinations fuelled spending on goods and services.
Eurostat also said euro zone inflation accelerated to 2.2% in July, the highest rate since October 2018, from 1.9% in June and above the mean expectation of economists of 2.0%.
Energy prices were again the driving factor, rising 14.1% year-on-year.