Unexpected growth in Germany and France give hope for Europe’s economy

Unexpectedly positive economic data for Europe’s second quarter were reported yesterday, feeding hope that the global economic collapse may be ending. The optimism was fueled primarily by growth in both the German and the French economies. Europe’s economy shrank just 0.3% in the second three months of 2009, for a total loss of 1.2% on the year, but its two largest markets actually showed slight growth.

“We will really see the difference in recoveries next year,” said Thomas Mayer, the chief European economist for Deutsche Bank. “That will be when the U.S. bounces back more quickly than Europe.”

Underlying the strong reading were solid performances in France and Germany, each of which grew 0.3 percent in the second quarter, government data showed. Germany’s economy, the largest in Europe, will still probably contract about 6 percent for the full year, economists say.

No one’s saying we’re out of the woods yet. But compare it to where we were at the beginning of the year and it’s hard not to feel the beginnings of a glimmer of hope.

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