Euro zone GDP jumps, but new lockdowns loom large

The euro zone economy saw a strong bounce back in the third quarter.

Figures out Friday (October 30) showed GDP in the 19 countries of the bloc surged 12.7% on the previous period.

That was well ahead of economist forecasts, and made up for an 11.8% contraction in the previous three months.

France, Italy and Spain saw especially strong growth.

Germany expanded by a more modest 8.2%, though that was still the fastest pace on record for Europe’s biggest economy.

Strong exports were among the drivers there.

Few think Friday’s numbers guarantee good times ahead, however.

With health worries roaring back, France and Germany were this week among countries to announce new lockdowns.

On Thursday (October 29) European Central Bank chief Christine Lagarde warned that all the signs point to a new slowdown:

"Recent hard data, survey result and high frequency indicators point to a significant softening in economic activity in the final quarter of the year.”

The ECB hinted it would announce new stimulus measures at its December policy meeting as a result.

Governments too are planning new measures, with Germany set to compensate firms for the effects of the new lockdown.

Consumers at least can benefit from falling prices, down 0.3% on the year in October.

Inflation was pulled down by plunging energy costs, which more than offset higher prices for food, alcohol and tobacco.