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A little--just a bit--of good economic news from Europe
05/12/2010 9:47 am EST
The economies of the 16 countries that use the euro grew by 0.2% in the quarter from the fourth quarter of 2009. Economists surveyed by Bloomberg News had expected growth of just 0.1%
On a year-to-year basis GDP grew by 0.5% after falling at an annual rate of 2.2% in the fourth quarter.
You didn’t have to look very hard to discover the reason. A cheaper euro made exports less expensive for customers in non-euro countries. And that led to a 1.3% increase in industrial production in March after a 0.7% gain in February. The euro is down 11% against the U.S. dollar so far in 2010.
Unfortunately, growth wasn’t spread evenly across the euro economies.
Growth was strong in the center. In Germany GDP rose 0.2% from the fourth quarter. French GDP climbed 0.1% and Italy recorded 0.5% growth.
On the other hand, Greek GDP fell by 0.8% in the first quarter.
But other countries that have been the locus of worry about a wider crisis fell into the growth camp even if just barely. Spain showed 0.1% growth in the quarter from the fourth quarter of 2009. Portuguese GDP climbed by 1%.
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