The eurozone economy grew 0.2% in the three months ended Sept. 30, with diverse contributions across member states as fiscal and structural reforms move at different rates.
Growth was better than consensus expectations, at 0.1%, and grew 0.8% compared with the same period in 2013.
There was also disparity in individual member states’ growth, according to figures announced Friday by Eurostat, the European Union’s statistics office. France grew 0.3% in the three months ended Sept. 30, compared with the previous quarter. Spain grew 0.5%, while Germany grew 0.1%.
Economists within money management firms said the GDP growth was disappointing, and has increased the likelihood of some kind of intervention by the European Central Bank.
“The return to modest positive growth in the eurozone’s two largest economies (Germany and France, which both contracted 0.1% in the three months ended June 30) is welcome, as is the 0.2% GDP increase in the zone overall,” said Stewart Robertson, senior economist at Aviva Investors, in a statement. “However, it is not enough to sound the all-clear on the deflation and recession threats.”
Mr. Robertson was not available for further comment.
Greece, however, was the fastest-growing economy in the eurozone, with 0.7% growth in the quarter and 1.4% growth in the year ended Sept. 30.
“It appears that the Greek economy has finally stabilized, and while there is still a mountain of fiscal and structural reforms that need to be implemented, positive growth will help ease the social problems caused by the crisis,” said Azad Zangana, European economist at Schroders, in a news release.
Mr. Zangana cited “dangerously low” inflation, at 0.4% year-over-year for October, as a cause for concern for the ECB. “Overall, while the latest GDP figures are slightly better than expected, they continue to paint a picture of a weak eurozone economy that is struggling to break out of this sluggish growth environment,” he said.
A spokeswoman for Schroders could not be reached for further comment by press time.