Euro zone exits longest recession in over 40 years

Euro zone exits longest recession in over 40 years

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The euro zone posted 0.3 percent growth in the second quarter of 2013 from the first, beating expectations for 0.2 percent growth and signaling the end of the longest recession in continental Europe in over 40 years.

Although the news was cheered, unemployment remains stubbornly high in the euro zone, at 12.1 percent in June and analysts warned that Europe's crisis had not disappeared yet.

"[Europe is] beyond the worst - I'm not sure we've turned the corner yet but it does feel better and at least it's a positive number after 18 months of negative, negative, negative, "Daragh Maher, senior FX strategist at HSBC, said.

Carsten Brzeski, senior economist at ING, agreed the euro zone still had a long way to go before positive growth numbers could honestly be called recovery. "But relief should stand above skepticism, at least for one day," he said.

Earlier, Germany and France posted forecast-beating growth in the second quarter. Germany's economy grew by 0.7 percent in the second quarter from the first, as domestic public and private consumption picked up. Meanwhile, France leaped out of a recession, posting 0.5 percent growth in the second quarter, way above expectations of 0.2 percent growth.

The gross domestic product (GDP) numbers mark the end of a long roller-coaster ride for the German economy and a return to stable growth, according to ING's Brzeski.

"Since the start of the year, German macro data has been highly erratic...Looking ahead, the German economy should settle down to a growth rate of around 0.4 percent quarter-on-quarter in the second half of the year."

Bob Parker, senior advisor at Credit Suisse, agreed, telling CNBC that the German data revealed a positive economic trend.

"If one looks at German data for May, June and July you see a progressive improvement across all sectors of the economy...stronger industrial production numbers, stronger export numbers but critically for the German economy was this uptrend in the last few months of German consumption."

Jean-Michel Six, managing director at Standard & Poor's said that for countries like France, a slow recovery would ensue.

"We've had a signal that the worst in terms of economic activity is behind us, we're entering a new period which is likely to be extended, which is likely to be a long period of sluggish recovery, very slow growth but still very weak."

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