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Eurozone GDP up 12.7% in Q3, biggest quarterly rise

  • Agence France-Presse

    Brussels, Belgium

  /   Fri, October 30, 2020   /   06:03 pm
Eurozone GDP up 12.7% in Q3, biggest quarterly rise European Union flags fly outside the European Commission headquarters in Brussels, Belgium, Feb. 19, 2020. (Reuters/Yves Herman)

Eurozone output soared by 12.7 percent in the third quarter, its sharpest recorded increase, as the bloc bounced back from the depths of the coronavirus lockdown, EU agency Eurostat said Friday.

But, despite the rebound, total gross domestic product in the 19-country zone is still 4.3 percent down on the third quarter of 2019, while unemployment numbers for September and the inflation estimate for October remained flat.

In the European Union as a whole, including member states outside the single currency area, GDP increased by 12.1 percent in the third quarter, but remained 3.9 percent down on the same period last year.  

"These were by far the sharpest increases observed since time series started in 1995," Eurostat said.

Europe is now in the grip of a second wave of the epidemic, and several countries have begun to reintroduce various forms and level of lockdown, promising further economic turbulence.

In September, the eurozone's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate stood at 8.3 percent, stable over August and up from 7.5 percent in September 2019 -- implying that 15.9 million people are out of work in the EU, 13.6 million of them in the eurozone.

Eurostat's first estimate for the annual eurozone inflation rate in October is stable at -0.3 percent, still well below the European Central Bank's target of a positive rate just below two percent.

The German economy grew by 8.2 percent in the third quarter and is expected to shrink less than expected in 2020, official data showed Friday, even as the country faces new shutdowns to contain a second coronavirus wave.

Federal statistics agency Destatis said the rebound in July to September, coming after a historic slump in the second quarter, was driven by "higher final consumption expenditure of households, higher capital formation in machinery and equipment and a sharp increase in exports".

Analysts from financial information service Factset had predicted an increase in gross domestic product of 7.4 percent after a plunge of almost 10 percent during the second quarter.

Overall, the government now expects Europe's top economy to shrink by 5.5 percent in 2020, Economy Minister Peter Altmaier said -- an improvement on September's prediction of 5.8 percent.

Its estimate of 4.4 percent growth for 2021 remains unchanged.

"The recovery comes as we are seeing a worsening of the pandemic, but I am sure that with the tough and decisive measures we have taken... we have a real chance to achieve this growth," Altmaier said.