The Eurozone’s largest economies appear to be towards ab economic rebound in the second half of 2019 after the first quarter GDP’s growth accelerated to 0.4%, up from 0.2% in the last quarter of 2018.
Country to country variations remain significant, but recovery is visible. France’s GDP growth reached 0.3%, with private consumption picking up from January to March to 0.4% as some of the worst of the violent Yellow Vest protests have faded and the tourism industry has returned to normal.
Spanish growth is projected at 0.7%, while the big news is that Italy is climbing out of its recession, returning to 0.2% growth, up from 0.1% in the last quarter of 2018.
Overall Eurozone unemployment continues to fall after the ECB reacted quickly with stimulus measures to maintain business confidence. Germany is now close to meeting the ECB’s target of 2% annual inflation. In North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany’s most populous state, consumer price inflation accelerated to 2.1%, perhaps boosted by Easter spending.
Economists expect the Eurozone’s annual inflation to be published on 3 May and for the numbers to be in the region of 1.6%, up from the 1.4% projections in March.
This news comes as business confidence in the EU hit a five year low on 29 April, according to data released by the European Commission. The industrial confidence indicator dropped to -4.1 in April, the lowest since 2014.