Euro zone economic growth was 0.1% quarter-on-quarter in the first three months of the year, the EU’s statistics agency confirmed on Tuesday, with rising employment and a sharp increase in exports that boosted the euro zone trade surplus.
Eurostat also confirmed its earlier estimate that gross domestic product in the 20 countries sharing the euro rose 1.3% year-on-year in the January-March period and said employment grew 0.6% on the quarter for a 1.7% year-on-year rise.
While a more detailed breakdown of the GDP rise was not yet available, unadjusted trade data for the first quarter showed an 8.5% jump in exports over the same period of 2022 with unchanged imports, indicating net trade contributed to the growth.
In March the unadjusted euro zone trade balance swung to a 25.6 billion euro surplus from a 20 billion deficit in the first three months of 2022. Adjusted for seasonal swings, the March trade surplus was 17 billion euros, up from a 200 million euro deficit the month before.
The better net trade result in the first quarter came mainly from higher exports of machinery, vehicles and chemicals and a drop in imports of energy.