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The EU managed to find a brief respite in the recent doom and gloom, recording growth of 0.2% in the first quarter of 2010, against consensus estimates of 0.1%, and previous 0%. The standouts on a quarterly basis were, on the upside; Portugal 1.0%, Hungary 0.9%, Slovakia 0.8%, and on the downside; Lithuania -4.1%, Estonia -2.3%, and Greece -0.8%.

On an annual basis, the EU grew 0.5%, which was the same as consensus and much improved from -2.2% in Q4 2009. The standouts on an annual basis on the upside were; Slovakia 4.6%, Portugal 1.7%, and Germany 1.5%, on the downside; Latvia -5.1%, Bulgaria -4.0%, and Lithuania -2.8%.

So it's official, the EU can now officially enter into a double-dip because it has actually recorded some positive growth! But seriously, given the problems facing Greece, and concerns about contagion, this uplift in growth could well be short-lived.

However the IMF-ECB-EU bailout of Greece, and the currency crash cash fund will buy the EU some time. But behind China's bubble concerns, the EU remains the largest source of vulnerability for the global economic recovery for now; I already said months ago, that the European economic recovery was going to be fragile, gradual and uneven - and you can probably expect that to continue.

Sources

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Source: EU Q1 GDP: Expect Continued Fragility