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The euro zone economic recovery picked up speed in the final quarter of 2013, suggesting the currency bloc is slowly finding its footing after a pair of recessions that pushed unemployment to record highs and led to crippling downturns in southern Europe, The Wall Street Journal reported.
Gross domestic product increased 1.1% at an annualized rate during the fourth quarter, the European Union’s statistics office said, the third-straight quarter of growth. GDP was up 0.3% from the third quarter on a nonannualized basis.
The expansion was led by Europe’s largest economy, Germany, which benefited from a rise in exports. Economic growth extended to struggling parts of the euro bloc including France, Spain and Italy.
Growth in the euro zone remains far below the rates that typically occur after recessions, raising doubts whether the region will be able to make a dent in high joblessness and generate enough output to ease debt burdens in southern Europe.
German GDP, which accounts for 30% of the euro zone total, expanded 1.5%, at an annualized rate. The region’s second-biggest economy, France, expanded at a 1.2% annualized rate after stagnating the previous quarter. Italy’s GDP expanded for the first time since 2011.