BRUSSELS (AP) — With all the noise and uncertainty surrounding Greece over the past couple of weeks, it’s been easy to overlook the growing signs of economic recovery in Europe.
A raft of indicators have pointed to a pick-up in activity that puts the 19-country eurozone economy in a position to outperform expectations this year — provided it doesn’t stumble into a messy Greek exit from the euro or relations deteriorate between the West and Russia over the conflict in Ukraine.
Fourth quarter figures on Friday aren’t expected to show a big improvement yet, with most economists predicting mild growth of 0.2 per cent for the second quarter running.
Moving forward though, most expect the pace of growth to accelerate for a number of reasons, including the sharp falls in the price of oil and the euro.
Ben May, economist at Oxford Economics, says 2015 will be the year that the recovery finally gets going. “Recent news from the eurozone supports the view that domestic healing continues,” he said.
For years, the eurozone has been in intensive care, sliding into two recessions as it struggled with an acute debt crisis that raised questions over the survival of the euro. Since ECB President Mario Draghi said in July 2012 that the bank would do “whatever it takes” to save the euro, tensions in financial markets have eased.