Euro zone economy outperforms U.S. with robust start to year

Euro zone economy outperforms U.S. with robust start to year

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File photo of the skyline of the banking district in Frankfurt, September 18, 2014.    REUTERS/Kai Pfaffenbach /Files

The euro zone economy started the year with robust growth that far outstripped that of the United States, preliminary estimates from the European statistics agency showed on Wednesday.

Eurostat said the gross domestic product (GDP) of the 19-country euro zone bloc in the first three months of the year grew by 0.5 percent on the quarter and by 1.7 percent on a yearly basis, in line with market forecasts.

The estimates for the quarter would translate into an annualized growth for the euro zone of 1.8 percent.

The United Stated recorded a 0.7 percent annualized growth in the first quarter, the weakest performance since the first three months of 2014, U.S. estimates showed.

Eurostat also revised upwards to 0.5 percent from 0.4 percent its earlier figures on euro zone quarterly growth in the last three months of 2016.

Year-on-year the euro zone economy grew in the last quarter of last year by 1.8 percent, higher than the previously estimated 1.7 percent.

Eurostat did not provide a breakdown of the economic components of the GDP growth, but economists expected the euro zone growth mostly to have been led by domestic consumption and business investment.

(Reporting by Francesco Guarascio @fraguarascio and Philip Blenkinsop)

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