Eurozone escapes recession: Eurostat

Eurozone escapes recession: Eurostat

New data on Wednesday confirmed that the eurozone escaped an 18-month recession in the second quarter but the outlook is difficult and the bloc still lags well behind in global terms. (AFP Photo)

New data on Wednesday confirmed that the eurozone escaped an 18-month recession in the second quarter but the outlook is difficult and the bloc still lags well behind in global terms.
(AFP Photo)

AFP – New data on Wednesday confirmed that the eurozone escaped an 18-month recession in the second quarter but the outlook is difficult and the bloc still lags well behind in global terms.

Analysts welcomed the figures, which reinforce other survey findings, but were also cautious as the debt crisis continues to sap the economy and unemployment runs at record highs.

The eurozone appears “on course for further modest growth in the third quarter but recovery looks like being a gradual process that will be vulnerable to any shocks,” said Howard Archer of IHS Global Insight.

The economy of the 17-nation eurozone, home to about 340 million people, grew 0.3 % in the three months to June, the Eurostat statistics agency said in a second estimate.

That compared with a contraction of 0.2% in the first quarter, originally given as a negative 0.3 %.

In the full 27-member EU, the economy expanded 0.4% in the second quarter, better than the initial 0.3% reading and after shrinking 0.1% in the first.

Compared with output in the second quarter 2012, the eurozone shrank 0.5% while the EU was flat.

During the same period, the US economy grew 0.6% compared with the first quarter and by 1.6% compared with a year earlier.

Meanwhile a closely-watched business survey showed the key services sector in the eurozone returned to growth in August as overall business activity hit a 26-month high.

The Composite Purchasing Managers’ Index compiled by Markit Economics rose to 51.5 points in August from 50.5 in July but it was down from the 51.7 points flagged in the first flash estimate.

The data also showed that growth in the powerhouse German economy was not enough to stop employment levels falling while second-ranked France slipped back faster than in July.

At 50.7 in August, up from 49.8 in July, Markit said its separate PMI for the services sector – which accounts for the bulk of economic activity – showed growth for the first time in 19 months.

Manufacturing activity had already crossed the 50-points boom-or-bust line in July.

“The eurozone recovery is looking increasingly broad-based, with more sectors and more countries emerging from recession,” said Chris Williamson, Chief Economist at Markit.

“Looking ahead, the hope for the eurozone is that currently rising confidence will encourage businesses to lift their employment and investment plans, and will also encourage consumers to spend more,” Archer said.

At the same time, the upside will likely “remain limited for some considerable time to come by serious headwinds,” he said, citing tight fiscal and credit conditions, ongoing bank reforms and high jobless rates.

Separately, eurozone retail sales in July edged up 0.1% by volume after a fall of 0.7% in June.

Compared with a July 2012, retail sales were down 1.3%, reflecting how the economic slump is keeping consumer demand, the key driver for growth, under pressure.

The post Eurozone escapes recession: Eurostat appeared first on Daily News Egypt.