France and Germany leave recession behind
Economists surveyed by Dow Jones Newswires last week had estimated that the euro-zone economy contracted by 0.4% from the first quarter and by 5% from a year earlier.
The German economy, aided by government stimulus programs, posted its first quarterly gain since early 2008.
German second-quarter real gross domestic product rose 0.3% from the first quarter, compared with economists’ forecasts of a 0.2% contraction, data from the Federal Statistics Office showed Thursday.
The result will be likely to bring forward forecasts on the time and pace of the German recovery from its worst recession since World War II.
France also brought a surprise, reporting that GDP grew 0.3% in the three months to the end of June, central statistics office Insee said Thursday.
Analysts were expecting the euro zone’s second-largest economy to shrink for the fifth running quarter, by 0.3%, prolonging a recession that has already lasted for a whole year.
French first-quarter gross domestic product data were revised down, showing a contraction of 1.3%, sharper than the 1.2% fall initially announced. GDP fell 2.6% from the second quarter last year.
French private and public consumption increased on the quarter, 0.3% and 0.5%, respectively, while investment fell 1% on the previous three months.
German GDP shrank 5.9% in the second quarter from the year-earlier period, when adjusted for the number of working days each year, the German data showed.
The German statistics office said government spending and private consumption boosted economic activity in the second quarter. Construction investment and net exports were supportive too, but a running-down of stocks depressed quarterly economic growth.
The statistics office also revised up GDP numbers for the first quarter of 2009. The German economy contracted by 3.5% from the preceding quarter, compared with a 3.8% drop previously reported.
However, other euro-zone economies continued to contract in the second quarter. Dutch GDP fell 0.9% from the first quarter, while Italian GDP was down 0.5%.
Italy’s recession eased in the second quarter, with gross domestic product contracting less than expected, preliminary data from statistics office Istat showed Friday.
Italian gdp shrank by a quarterly 0.5% in the April-June period, after a record 2.7% drop in the first three months of 2009, Istat said, without providing a detailed breakdown.
Compared with the second quarter of 2008, Italian GDP fell by 6% in April-June 2009, after dropping by the same amount year-on-year in the first three months.
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