The euro zone showed a mixed picture of health on Friday with the economy growing solidly and unemployment falling slightly while consumer prices fell yet again into deflation territory.
The flash estimate for euro zone gross domestic product rose 0.6 percent in the first quarter from the previous quarter, above expectations for an expansion of 0.4 percent, according to the European Union's statistics service Eurostat. Meanwhile, unemployment in the euro zone for March fell slightly to 10.2 percent – the lowest rate recorded in the region since August 2011 – from 10.4 percent in the previous month.
Gloomier news came on the inflation front, however, with the latest flash estimate showing that consumer prices fell 0.2 percent in April, from a flat reading of 0.0 percent in March. On an annual basis, core inflation (which strips out volatile prices such as those for oil and food) rose 0.8 percent in April.
Most analysts had predicted that euro zone GDP would have risen 0.4 percent quarter-on-quarter, up from 0.3 percent in the fourth quarter.