Europe has narrowly avoided returning to recession after recording zero growth in the first three months. The stronger-than-expected performance was in large part due to growth of 0.5% in the German economy. In the final quarter of 2011, the eurozone shrank by 0.3%, and many analysts expected further contraction. The French economy recorded zero growth in the first quarter of 2012, while the Italian economy contracted by 0.8%.
Separately, the Greek national statistics office said the nation’s economy had contracted by 6.2% in the three-month period. Greece is implementing drastic austerity measures to cut its deficit and comply with the terms of a massive bailout from the European Union and the International Monetary Fund.
The German statistics agency, Destatis, said the country’s economic growth was due to a rise in exports and higher domestic consumption.