The euro zone, still reeling from a surge in populist political movements across the continent, is growing again.
In the third quarter of 2018, total GDP was about 0.6 percent higher than the second quarter, meeting economists’ expectations. It was a slight improvement from the second quarter, when the economy expanded just 0.3 percent.
The solid performance was broad-based, the data showed. The most important points were: Germany, which typically is Europe’s biggest economy, expanded by about 0.6 percent from the second quarter; France and Italy increased their output by 0.5 percent; and the euro zone’s largest economy, Spain, grew by 0.4 percent.
The still-low growth should temper any sense of relief among the European Central Bank, which has devoted the past few years to overcoming a severe debt crisis that many thought might prove to be Europe’s next great economic depression.
But European leaders will still be eager to watch the populist and nationalist movements their economy represents, especially after the summer victory by populist and nationalist politicians in Austria, Italy and the Netherlands. If the populist wave does recede, the relief could be short-lived.