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Eurozone GDP didn’t slow down as much as thought in 2Q

Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras speaks at parliament in AthensGreek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras speaks at parliament in Athens
"Despite, or perhaps because of..."Photograph by Ayhan Mehmet — Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

The Eurozone’s economy didn’t slow down in the second quarter as much as initially thought.

According to revised data put out Tuesday by Eurostat, gross domestic product–the value of the region’s entire output of goods and services–rose 0.4% in the three months to June from the previous quarter. That’s a marginal slowdown from 0.5% in the first quarter but better than the original estimate of 0.3%.

It means that the Eurozone’s economy grew 1.5% over the last year, up from 1.2% in the first quarter and the fastest rate of growth and the fastest clip in four years. The same was true for the whole of the E.U., which grew 1.9% in the year.

Behind the headline figure was an unlikely–and unsustainable–engine: Greece. Greek GDP surged by 0.9% even as the country spiralled into a chaotic showdown with the rest of the Eurozone over its bailout. But that increase was due entirely to rushed purchases of high-value items as ordinary Greeks rushed to spend their savings rather than risk seeing them devalued by a return to the drachma. As such, most economists expect a sharply negative figure for the country in the third quarter.

On the plus side, it was the first time since 2006 that no single country in the E.U. had posted negative GDP growth. France was the worst performer with zero growth. Spain was the best performing large economy with growth of 1%, while the (non-Eurozone) U.K. expanded by 0.7%.