24 November 2009
The EU’s statistics office Eurostat has stated that the gross domestic product (GDP) in the eurozone (the 16 Member States that use the euro) increased by 0.4 % while the GDP in EU-27 countries gained by 0.2 % in the third quarter. The rise in eurozone output was the first in six quarters. However, these results were not as positive as the 0.6 % that most economists had predicted for the eurozone. Nevertheless, many analysts caution that the EU’s economic recovery would be very slow, as it could be hindered by high unemployment. The jobless rate in the eurozone and 27 EU hit 10-year highs of 9.7 % and 9.2 % respectively in September.
In this context, the eurozone achieved a trade surplus of €3.7bn with the rest of the world in September after a deficit of €2.3bn in August. Both exports and imports showed an increase from August (5.5 % and 1.1 % respectively), making a positive contribution to growth in the third quarter.
So far, this year EU trade with all of its major partners has fallen (both exports and imports down by 18 % and 24 % respectively in September from the year before), including Southeast Asia. The eurozone recovery, however sluggish and fragile, is a good sign for the global economy, given that the EU is the world’s largest trading bloc.
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