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Fourth-quarter growth data confirm recovery in eurozone

Economic output in the eurozone accelerated in the final quarter of 2013, suggesting that the modest recovery in the 18-nation currency area remains on track. Gross domestic product was driven by exports and investment.

Between October and December 2013, economic activity in the eurozone expanded by 0.3 percent compared with the same quarter a year ago,

the European Union's statistics office, Eurostat, announced Wednesday

.

The figure confirmed Eurostat's earlier growth estimate released in February, and pointed to an

accelerating recovery in the currency area

, the office said in a statement.

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Eurozone strengthens but not all feel the gains

According to Eurostat, fourth-quarter gross domestic product (GDP) was significantly higher than in the previous three-month period, in which eurozone GDP had expanded by just 0.1 percent. It was the third consecutive quarter of growth after more than one and a half years of shrinking output as a result of the eurozone's sovereign debt crisis.

GDP expansion was driven primarily by

rising exports

, up 1.2 percent quarter-on-quarter, and higher capital investments which had grown by 1.1 percent, Eurostat said.

Slovenia had posted the strongest growth at 1.2 percent, while Finland saw the deepest fall with 0.3 percent, the statisticians added.

According to Eurostat data, higher growth also returned to the eurozone's biggest economies,

Germany

and France, which expanded by 0.4 percent and 0.3 percent in the quarter respectively.

uhe/dr (AFP, dpa, AP)

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