The economy of the 16 countries that use the euro grew by 0.2 per cent during the first quarter compared with the previous three-month period, despite another big drop in output in debt-laden Greece, official figures showed on Friday. The first quarter data from the EU's statistics agency Eurostat were unrevised from the previous prediction.
However, Eurostat now says that the eurozone economy actually grew by 0.1 percent in the last quarter of 2009, against its previous forecast of zero growth.
That means that the eurozone has now grown for three straight quarters following the deepest and longest recession in decades. Nevertheless, the tepid recovery in the eurozone contrasts with that of the US and Japan, which saw output rise by 0.8 per cent and 1.2 per cent in the first quarter respectively, according to Eurostat.
Analysts remain skeptical that the eurozone will be able to pick up at the rate of its main economic competitors, not the least because of the debt problems afflicting a number of countries, most notably Greece, which came close to defaulting on its debt. Eurostat confirmed that Greece's economy shrank by 0.8 per cent in the first quarter.
For the wider EU, which includes non-euro members such as Britain and Sweden, economic output in the first quarter was also left unrevised at 0.2 per cent.
On an annual basis, eurozone economic growth was 0.6 per cent, slightly higher than the wider EU's 0.5 per cent rate.