Europe

Eurozone growth rate unexpectedly doubles to 0.6 percent

  • From left, German Transportation Minister Alexander Dobrindt, German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble and German Minister for Economic Affairs and Energy, Sigmar Gabriel, address the media during a joint press conference in Berlin, Germany, Wednesday, April 27, 2016. Germany plans to subsidize electric cars in a bid to help the country's auto industry compete in the global market for the growingly-popular and environmentally friendly vehicles. (AP Photo/Michael Sohn)

    From left, German Transportation Minister Alexander Dobrindt, German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble and German Minister for Economic Affairs and Energy, Sigmar Gabriel, address the media during a joint press conference in Berlin, Germany, Wednesday, April 27, 2016. Germany plans to subsidize electric cars in a bid to help the country's auto industry compete in the global market for the growingly-popular and environmentally friendly vehicles. (AP Photo/Michael Sohn)  (The Associated Press)

  • FILE - This July 31, 2012 file photo shows the euro sculpture in front of the headquarters of the European Central Bank, ECB, in Frankfurt, Germany. The eurozone economy has finally recouped all the ground lost in the recessions of the past eight years after official figures Friday April 29, 2016. showed that the 19-country single currency bloc expanded by a quarterly rate of 0.6 percent in the first three months of the year. (AP Photo/Michael Probst, File)

    FILE - This July 31, 2012 file photo shows the euro sculpture in front of the headquarters of the European Central Bank, ECB, in Frankfurt, Germany. The eurozone economy has finally recouped all the ground lost in the recessions of the past eight years after official figures Friday April 29, 2016. showed that the 19-country single currency bloc expanded by a quarterly rate of 0.6 percent in the first three months of the year. (AP Photo/Michael Probst, File)  (The Associated Press)

Official figures show the eurozone economy grew by a quarterly rate of 0.6 percent in the first three months of year, meaning the currency bloc has finally clawed back the ground lost during the recessions it has suffered since 2008.

In a preliminary estimate, Eurostat says the eurozone is now 0.4 percent bigger than in the first quarter of 2008, just before the recession associated with the global financial crisis. The eurozone has suffered a torrid time since then, falling in and out of recession.

The doubling in the growth rate compared with the fourth quarter was unexpected. The consensus in markets was for a modest rise to 0.4 percent.

Eurostat also said Friday that inflation in the year to April dropped to minus 0.2 percent from zero in March.