Eurozone growth unexpectedly doubles

Figures show a boost in growth in the first quarter of 2016, with the economy reaching pre-recession levels.

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Figures released by Eurostat show an unexpected increase in Eurozone economic growth in the first quarter of 2016.

Compared to the last quarter of 2015, GDP in the Eurozone was up by 0.6%, and by 1.6% over the same time last year.

Importantly, it is the first time the economic bloc has reached the same size it was before the global recession of 2008 – 0.4% bigger, to be precise.

The recession did not hit evenly, however, with countries like Germany faring much better than debt-ridden countries such as Greece and Ireland.

Eurozone countries in blue, other EU members in dark grey.

Growth in the European Union as a whole (countries who use the Euro as well as those who do not) was up by 0.5%.

Economic growth within the Eurozone has been steady but slow in the past three years as it emerged from the recession. This unexpected growth could signal a return to stronger growth rates in the post-recession era.

The economy of the Eurozone and the EU as a whole will face a number of tests this year; the UK referendum vote has already made markets nervous, as well as IMF talks on the Greek economy.

Eurostat will offer a more detailed look at the last quarter in the coming weeks.


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