Economic growth in the eurozone accelerated unexpectedly in the final three months of last year.
The reason – the currency bloc’s largest member, Germany, saw its GDP expand quarter on quarter by 0.7 percent, more than twice the expected rate.
There was a significant pick up in household spending after the summer slowdown. Over the previous six months the economy has hardly grown at all.
Economist Robert Halver from Baader Bank believes the country is set up for even better: “We had very solid growth in the fourth quarter and I believe that in the future things will go even better because we have three factors working for us: a weak euro, favourable commodity prices and a world economy which is doing better than expected, all of which helps the German export industry tremendously.”
The eurozone’s second largest economy, France ,managed just 0.1 percent. French finance minister Michel Sapin said “It’s obviously still too weak” but he predicted things can only get better with businesses already beginning to increase investment.
Italy’s economy stagnated in the final three months of the year, marking the 14th consecutive quarter without any growth as an increase in exports was offset by weak domestic demand.
Spain enjoyed quarterly growth of 0.7 percent, the fastest in seven years.
The Greek economy contracted by 0.2 percent after three consecutive quarters of growth.
Pulled up by Germany, the region as a whole expanded by 0.3 percent.