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French, German Recessions End

The economies of France and Germany both showed unexpected growth in the second quarter, lifting the two countries out of recession for the first time since last year. Agence France Presse (AFP) reports that both economies saw growth of 0.3 percent, far ahead of industry analysts' predictions of 0.2 percent decline in Germany and 0.6 percent decline in France. French Finance Minister Christine Legarde, quoted by AFP, welcomed the news but cautioned that the outlook for employment would still remain difficult. European Central Bank chief economist Juergen Stark, also quoted by AFP, warns against premature optimism. "What we are seeing is based primarily on stimulus measure by the governments and the restocking of warehouses," he says. "Seen in that light, we cannot count on a durable return to a growth course." The generally accepted definition of recession is two consecutive quarters of gross national product decline.

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