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Eurozone recovery on track as growth rises

Growth in the eurozone accelerated slightly in the second quarter of 2017 as Europe's tentative economic recovery remained on track, official EU data showed on Tuesday.

The economy in the 19-country single currency area grew by 0.6 percent in the three months to June, compared with 0.5 percent in the first quarter of the year, the Eurostat statistics agency said.

The figure was in line with analyst forecasts published by data company Factset.

“More good news,” EU employment commissioner Marianne Thyssen tweeted.

The fresh data will reinforce hopes that despite uncertainty and the turbulence of Brexit, the eurozone is emerging from the worst of the financial crisis that began in 2008.

The growth figures come a day after figures showed unemployment in the eurozone had dropped to its lowest level in eight years.

Compared with the same quarter in 2016, economic output in the eurozone rose by 2.1 percent, Eurostat said.

“Europeans have deserved their quiet month of August as euphoria about the eurozone economy continues to be backed up by robust growth,” said analyst Bert Colijn of ING.

“All in all, the Eurozone economy has rounded out the first half of the year in a very healthy state and seems to be set up nicely for continued firm growth for the rest of 2017.”

Growth in the 28-nation European Union also rose by 0.6 percent in the second quarter compared with 0.5 percent in the first three months.

Eurozone growth as a whole rose twice as fast as in Britain, where gross domestic product was up 0.3 percent in the last quarter.

The figures come a week after the IMF said the eurozone economic recovery was broad and strengthening, but warned that low inflation, fragile banks and Britain’s exit from the EU remained significant risks.

On Monday the EU said eurozone inflation in July remained well below the European Central Bank’s target, meaning that the bank is likely to carry on for now with its massive economic stimulus policy and low interest rates.

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