First-quarter growth in the euro area was driven by exports and private consumption. Gross domestic product rose 0.4 per cent in the three months through March after expanding a revised 0.4 per cent in the previous three months, the European Union’s statistics office in Luxembourg said Tuesday.
Household consumption increased 0.5 per cent, investment climbed 0.8 per cent and exports were up 0.6 per cent.
In addition to a drop in the price of oil, a weaker euro due to the European Central Bank’s bond-buying program has helped the bloc’s output. ECB President Mario Draghisaid last week that record monetary stimulus was filtering through to the economy on schedule, and that despite concerns about Greece’s debts the recovery was “on track.”
“Growth could slow a bit in the second quarter but will remain on a positive trend until the end of the year,” said Christophe Barraud, chief economist at Market Securities LLP in Paris.
Household consumption contributed 0.3 percentage point to economic growth in the first quarter, investment added 0.2 percentage point and exports lifted output by 0.3 percentage point, according to the report. Imports subtracted 0.5 percentage point.
In a sign of the trend continuing, euro-area economic confidence remained near a four-year high in May. Markit’s factory output gauge for the entire 19-nation region rose to 52.2 last month, above the key 50 mark that divides expansion from contraction.