France, Germany Pull Out of Recession

By Jason Farago,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 13, 2009 7:11 AM CDT
Christine Lagarde, the French finance minister, said today's figures were "very surprising. After four negative quarters France is coming out of the red."   (AP Photo/Thierry Charlier.)
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(Newser) – The two largest economies in Europe pulled out of the recession last quarter, with Germany and France both posting 0.3% growth between April and June, reports the Wall Street Journal. The figures were far better than expected, and the French finance minister described the result as "very surprising." But Holland, Italy, and other eurozone countries continued to contract, and as a whole the bloc is still in recession with an overall dip of  0.1% this quarter.

Reaction to the surprise growth was mixed, and economists debated whether the recovery was stable. French officials maintained that consumer spending had helped to pull the country back into the black, and in Germany soaring exports helped the bottom line. But others said that stimulus packages made the difference; one German banker said that as long as banks stay reliant on government, "we can't assume that the crisis is over."