REFILE-Euro zone exits recession in Q2 slightly faster than expected
BRUSSELS Aug 14 (Reuters) - Stronger growth in the euro zone's two largest economies, Germany and France, helped the euro zone to emerge from its longest recession to date in the second quarter, confirming expectations a fragile recovery was under way.
The 17 countries sharing the euro needed seven quarters to return to growth of 0.3 percent, on a seasonally adjusted basis, in the three months to June, data from the European Union's statistics office Eurostat showed.
Confirming a fragmented picture of the rebound, Spain's economy fell by 0.1 percent on the quarter, while Italy and the Netherlands both dropped by 0.2 percent.
Bailed euro zone peer Portugal posted a 1.1 percent expansion, showing the fastest growth in the euro zone in the three months to June, data showed.
The bloc's performance in the second quarter beat expectations of 35 economists in Reuters poll, who anticipated a 0.2 percent rise.
The economy fell in the second quarter by 0.7 percent, compared with the same period last year, with the market anticipating a 0.8 percent decline.
Eurostat revised the first quarter drop in the euro zone to to 0.3 percent on the quarter, from a previous 0.2 percent fall.
The single currency area, however, now faces an uneven and bumpy recovery dented by record high joblessness and belt-tightening austerity in peripheral countries, which need to speed up market reforms, boost growth and create new jobs.
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