Gross domestic product in the economy of the 16 nations using the euro rose 0.4 percent from the second quarter, when it fell 0.2 percent, the European Union’s statistics office in Luxembourg said today. Economists had forecast the economy to grow 0.5 percent, according to the median of 34 estimates in a Bloomberg survey.JP Morgan analyst David Mackie was similarly unimpressed (via FT Alphaville):
Europe’s economy is gathering strength after governments stepped up stimulus measures and the European Central Bank injected billions of euros into markets to encourage lending. While confidence in the economic outlook is at a 13-month high, rising unemployment, the expiration of stimulus plans and a surging euro are threatening to undermine a recovery.
“The euro-zone economy has officially turned the corner and that is cause for relief, but not celebration,” said Martin van Vliet, a senior economist at ING Bank in Amsterdam. “The economy remains in a fragile state and is recovering mainly because of government stimulus and temporary inventory effects.”
The third quarter GDP data suggest that the region has exited recession, but the move was hardly a decisive one. Despite a 12%ar gain in industrial production across the region, GDP managed to increase by only 1.5%ar. Clearly, there was a lot of weakness in construction and services. These data will reinforce the perceptions of the consensus: that the upswing will be lackluster and bumpy. And, they present a major challenge to our more upbeat forecast of growth over the coming year. Indeed, if GDP can only increase by 1.5%ar when IP grows at a double digit pace, the largest gain since 1984, one can only worry about the future.
As for the monster quarter from Lithuania... call it a massive dead cat bounce as year over year GDP is still down 14.3%.