Belgian economy accelerates slightly in third quarter

BRUSSELS Wed Oct 30, 2013 2:11pm GMT

Chocolates are displayed in a shop at Belgian chocolate maker Neuhaus in Vlezenbeek, near Brussels March 13, 2013. REUTERS/Yves Herman

Chocolates are displayed in a shop at Belgian chocolate maker Neuhaus in Vlezenbeek, near Brussels March 13, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Yves Herman

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BRUSSELS (Reuters) - Belgium's economy accelerated slightly in the third quarter of 2013, suggesting it and other core euro zone countries are pulling slowly out of recession and stagnation.

Belgium's gross domestic product (GDP) grew by 0.3 percent in the third quarter from the second and by 0.4 percent year-on-year. The figure was in line with the average expectation in a Reuters poll of 11 economists.

In the second quarter, the economy grew by 0.2 percent quarter-on-quarter and by 0.1 percent from a year earlier.

Belgium is the first country in the euro zone's core to provide a third-quarter estimate. As one of the bloc's most open economies it has served as a reasonable guide to the health of its peers.

Belgium's numbers follow data from Spain on Wednesday, showing that the euro zone's fourth largest economy limped out of a two-year recession in the third quarter.

France, Germany, Italy, Austria, the Netherlands and Portugal are all due to release flash estimates on November 14, when the euro zone's initial figure will also be published.

The single currency bloc's economy grew by 0.3 percent in the second quarter.

(Reporting by Robert-Jan Bartunek and Philip Blenkinsop)

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