BRUSSELS, Nov 12 (Reuters) - Quarterly euro zone economic growth more than halved in the third quarter against the previous three months, data showed on Friday, in line with market expectations. The European Union's statistics office Eurostat said gross domestic product in the 16 countries using the euro grew 0.4 percent in the July-September period against 1 percent in the second quarter and was 1.9 percent higher than in the third quarter of 2009. The expansion was mainly thanks to continued robust growth in the euro zone's biggest economy Germany, where the economy grew 0.7 percent on the quarter for a 3.9 percent year-on-year rise. In the second biggest, France, third quarter GDP rose 0.4 percent quarter-on-quarter and was 1.8 percent higher year-on -year. The economy shrank 1.1 percent on the quarter in crisis- stricken Greece but expanded 0.4 percent in Portugal, which needs economic growth to convince markets it will be able to repay its debts. Data for Ireland, which is also struggling to regain market confidence in its public finances, was not yet available. A more detailed breakdown of the GDP data from Eurostat is not yet available. But separately Eurostat said euro zone industrial production defied market expectations of a small monthly rise and fell in September against August and reducing the year-on-year growth to 5.2 percent against expectations of a 7.1 percent rise. The fall was mainly due a sharp drop in the output of durable consumer goods, the production of which fell 3 percent on the month and was 0.2 percent lower than a year earlier. In monthly terms, output fell in Germany, Italy, and Spain and was flat in France. (Reporting by Jan Strupczewski, editing by editing by Rex Merrifield) Keywords: EUROZONE ECONOMY/ (firstname.lastname@example.org; +32-2-287 6837; Reuters messaging: email@example.com) COPYRIGHT Copyright Thomson Reuters 2010. All rights reserved.
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