German GDP rose by 1.5% in the first quarter of 2011, up from 0.4% in Q4, as France’s growth rate rose by 1% (up from 0.3%), contributing to total eurozone growth of 0.8%.
That figure was up from 0.3% in Q4 2010 and ahead of the UK’s Q1 GDP growth rate of 0.5%.
But it was Greece that arguably provided the most surprising performance, as the economy grew by 0.8%, flying in the face of both existing austerity measures and continually weaker market sentiment.
Put in the context of the 2.8% contraction seen in Q4 2010, the Greek figure is less impressive. But other peripheral nations have exhibited further weakness: Portugal reporting a 0.7% contraction on the back of a fourth quarter in which its economy shrunk by 0.6%.
Its neighbour Spain, which has continued to insist it will not require a rescue package, grew by a sluggish 0.3%. Italy’s growth rate was weaker still at 0.1%; Ireland, meanwhile, has yet to report Q1 figures.
The eurozone data, provided by Eurostat, did not break out business sector performance for individual countries or the region as a whole.