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Euro zone economy confirmed to grow at robust pace in second quarter

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Euro zone economy confirmed to grow at robust pace in second quarter

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BRUSSELS (Reuters) – The euro zone economy grew at a robust rate of 0.6 percent in the three months to June compared to the first quarter, the European Union statistics office said on Thursday confirming its earlier estimates and market expectations. Eurostat confirmed that the 19-country currency bloc’s economic expansion accelerated in the second quarter after a healthy 0.5 percent rise in the first three months of the year. The statistics office did revise upwards the data on euro zone growth on a yearly basis. The bloc’s gross domestic product (GDP) expanded by 2.3 percent in the second quarter and by 2.0 percent in the first three months of the year, higher than previous estimates of respectively a 2.2 percent and 1.9 percent growth. The yearly figure for the second quarter was also higher than the average forecast of economists polled by Reuters who had expected a 2.2 percent rise on the year. The Eurostat reading comes as the European Central Bank is holding a policy meeting in Frankfurt with rate decisions to be announced at 1145 GMT, followed by president Mario Draghi’s news conference at 1230 GMT. The final data on GDP growth in the second quarter confirm the healthy state of the bloc’s economy, positive news for the ECB which could prepare the ground for a reduction of its monetary stimulus, although below-target inflation and the strong euro complicate the outlook.

(Reporting By Francesco Guarascio; editing by Philip Blenkinsop)
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