Eurozone proves stronger as first-quarter growth revised up

Madrid - The eurozone economy grew faster at the start of the year than previously estimated as domestic demand bolstered output.

Gross domestic product in the currency bloc rose 0.6% in three months through March, the European Union’s statistics office said on Thursday, revising it from 0.5%. The expansion was driven exclusively by spending and investment. Trade didn’t contribute to growth.

The data come as the European Central Bank wraps up its two-day Governing Council meeting in Tallinn, where officials discussed the future path of monetary policy. While a significant change in tone is not expected, investors will be listening carefully to the words President Mario Draghi will choose to describe the state of the recovery.

“The revision is good news, but not good enough to prompt changes in the policy stance due to the inflation outlook,” said Frederic Pretet, inflation and rates strategist at Scotiabank. “Having said that, the eurozone has started the year with a lot of momentum and that’s likely to continue in the second quarter based on the data we’ve seen.”

Reports have painted an optimistic picture for the eurozone, with manufacturing and services expanding at the fastest pace in six years in May, supported by job creation and business confidence. While Draghi noted in recent weeks that the upswing is becoming increasingly robust, he also argued that stimulus is still necessary to prop up inflation.

At his press conference following the ECB’s policy announcement at 13:45, Draghi is set to present updated economic forecasts.

Draft projections show consumer-price growth will be cut to roughly around 1.5% each year in 2017, 2018 and 2019, according to eurozone officials familiar with the matter. Predictions for economic growth are likely to be revised up by about a tenth of a percentage point, the people said.

In the first quarter, household consumption rose 0.3% from the previous three months, contributing 0.2 percentage point to growth. Government spending was up 0.4%, adding 0.1 point to GDP. Investment surged 1.3% for a 0.3 point contribution. The economy expanded 1.9% from a year.

Read Fin24's top stories trending on Twitter:

ZAR/USD
17.03
(-0.47)
ZAR/GBP
21.22
(-0.28)
ZAR/EUR
19.14
(-0.29)
ZAR/AUD
11.82
(-0.62)
ZAR/JPY
0.16
(-0.28)
Gold
1775.38
(+0.02)
Silver
18.02
(+0.62)
Platinum
809.16
(+0.35)
Brent Crude
42.92
(+2.64)
Palladium
1892.00
(+0.29)
All Share
54611.46
(-0.01)
Top 40
50281.73
(-0.06)
Financial 15
10226.04
(+0.11)
Industrial 25
76584.94
(+0.56)
Resource 10
50248.99
(-1.02)
All JSE data delayed by at least 15 minutes morningstar logo
Company Snapshot
Voting Booth
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
Results
I'm not really directly affected
18% - 1568 votes
I am taking a hit, but should be able to recover in the next year
23% - 2045 votes
My finances have been devastated
34% - 3063 votes
It's still too early to know what the full effect will be
25% - 2221 votes
Vote