The eurozone economy grew at a record pace in the third quarter, but has already stalled in the face of a resurgence of coronavirus infections and tough new restrictions, leaving Europe lagging behind the U.S. and Asia in its recovery from the crisis.
Figures released by the European Union’s statistics agency Friday showed the combined gross domestic product of the eurozone’s 19 members was 12.7% higher in the three months through September than in the previous quarter, having declined 11.8% in the three months through June.
Growth during the third quarter was stronger than in the U.S. That largely reflected the fact that the second-quarter lockdown was more stringent and longer-lasting in Europe, leading to an especially large rebound after the restrictions were lifted.
However, that rebound has already been stalling this fall, as infections have risen again and consumers avoided eating out, traveling and in-person entertainment, while businesses have become more cautious. Policy makers throughout Europe have steadily reined in social and economic activities.
After Germany and France, Europe’s two biggest economies, imposed new restrictions this week to contain the virus, the eurozone is now expected to shrink again this quarter.