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Euro zone exits longest recession in over 40 years

Wednesday, 14 Aug 2013 | 6:35 AM ET
Martin Diebel | Getty Images

The euro zone posted 0.3 percent growth in the second quarter of 2013 from the first, beating expectations for 0.2 percent growth and signaling the end of the longest recession in continental Europe in over 40 years.

Although the news was cheered, unemployment remains stubbornly high in the euro zone, at 12.1 percent in June and analysts warned that Europe's crisis had not disappeared yet.

"[Europe is] beyond the worst - I'm not sure we've turned the corner yet but it does feel better and at least it's a positive number after 18 months of negative, negative, negative, "Daragh Maher, senior FX strategist at HSBC, said.

Carsten Brzeski, senior economist at ING, agreed the euro zone still had a long way to go before positive growth numbers could honestly be called recovery. "But relief should stand above skepticism, at least for one day," he said.

Earlier, Germany and France posted forecast-beating growth in the second quarter. Germany's economy grew by 0.7 percent in the second quarter from the first, as domestic public and private consumption picked up. Meanwhile, France leaped out of a recession, posting 0.5 percent growth in the second quarter, way above expectations of 0.2 percent growth.

Despite the apparent recovery, the Netherlands, Spain and Italy were still in contraction in the second quarter.

Referring to France's nascent recovery, Jean-Michel Six, managing director at Standard & Poor's, said there was further to go.

"We've had a signal that the worst in terms of economic activity is behind us, we're entering a new period which is likely to be extended, which is likely to be a long period of sluggish recovery, very slow growth but still very weak,"

Contact Europe: Economy

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