Europe's Economy Rocks, Defies U.S. Slowdown
Surprising even the most optimistic forecasters, the German economy grew 1.535% in the first quarter of this year (about 6% on an annual basis), delivering its best performance in over a decade (see chart above, click to enlarge, data from OECD) despite the global financial crisis and recessionary fears enveloping the United States.
The euro zone, where Germany accounts for a third of economic output among 15 members, grew 0.7% during the period (2.8% annually), the statistics agency Eurostat reported Thursday. The region's numbers, which represent quarter-on-quarter growth, also got a surprising lift from France, where the economy grew 0.6% (2.4% annually) in the first quarter.
The figures, which were about double what most economists expected, suggested that the European economy was demonstrating a resilience that seemed unlikely as recently as last autumn.
Read news reports here, here and here.
Note: First-quarter GDP estimates show that the U.S. economy grew 0.2% (compared to the .60% growth on an annual basis reported in the U.S.) when the official figure is translated into a measure comparable with the estimates published in Europe. In the U.S., quarterly growth rates for GDP are annualized, while in Europe they are reported as quarterly rates without adjusting on an annual basis (see adjustments above in parentheses).