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Ireland's economic growth improved in the three months ended March after easing in the previous quarter, initial figures from the Central Statistics Office showed Thursday.

Gross domestic product grew a seasonally adjusted 1.4 percent quarterly in the first quarter, faster than previous quarter's 1.2 percent climb. In the third quarter last year, the economy expanded 1.4 percent.

The data showed that the value added increased in the quarter for all business sectors, except agriculture. The distribution, transport, software and communications sector rose by 2.1 percent and the other services sector by 0.3 percent.

On the expenditure side of national accounts, personal consumption climbed 1.2 percent from the previous quarter, while government expenditure decreased by 0.4 percent.

On a yearly basis, GDP increased at a faster pace of 6.5 percent in the March quarter, following a 6.0 percent growth in the December quarter.

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Greece's producer prices declined for the twelfth straight month in June and at a faster pace from the previous month, figures from the Hellenic Statistical Authority showed Thursday.

The overall producer price index fell 5.7 percent year-over-year in June, faster than May's 4.6 percent decline. Producer prices have been falling since July 2014.

Producer prices in the domestic market dropped by 4.8 percent annually in June and foreign market prices plunged by 8.2 percent.

On a monthly basis, producer prices declined 0.7 percent in June, reversing the 0.7 percent increase in the prior month. It was the first decrease in five months.

Both domestic and foreign market prices declined by 0.4 percent and 1.7 percent, respectively in June.

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Eurozone economic confidence rose unexpectedly to a four-year high in July and businesses became more upbeat after the threat of Grexit diminished, survey results from European Commission showed Thursday.

The economic sentiment index climbed to 104 in July. A similar reading was last seen in the same month of 2011 and a higher score of 106 was recorded in June that year. Economists had forecast the indicator to fall marginally to 103.2 from 103.5 in June.

The survey suggests that the deal for Greece had a positive impact, IHS Global Insight Economist Howard Archer, said. It may also be that the falling back in oil prices buoyed sentiment and perhaps also the reaching of a nuclear deal with Iran.

Among sub-components, improvements in industry, services and retail trade were partially outweighed by lower consumer confidence.

The industrial sentiment index rose to -2.9 from -3.4 in June. The improvement was driven by managers' more positive views on the level of stocks of finished products.

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Portugal's unemployment rate held steady in June, preliminary figures from Statistics Portugal showed Thursday.

The seasonally adjusted jobless rate came in at 12.4 percent in June, the same rate as in May, which was revised down from 13.2 percent. In April, the rate was 12.8 percent.

In the corresponding month of the previous year, the jobless rate was 14.3 percent.

The number of unemployed people increased to 636,400 in June from 635,100 in the preceding month. A year ago, the jobless figure totaled 741,600.

The youth unemployment rate, which applies to the 15 to 24 age group, also remained unchanged at 31.6 percent.

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Latvia's economic growth accelerated in the three months ended June, after easing slightly in the previous quarter, preliminary figures from the Central Bureau of Statistics showed Thursday.

Gross domestic product rose a seasonally adjusted 1.2 percent quarter-on-quarter in the second quarter, faster than first quarter's 0.4 percent climb. In the fourth quarter last year, the rate of growth was 0.5 percent.

The latest rate of expansion was the fastest since the third quarter 2013, when the economy expanded 1.4 percent.

Annually, GDP grew a seasonally adjusted 2.6 percent in the June quarter versus 2.0 percent in the March quarter.

On an unadujsted basis, the economy expanded at a faster pace of 2.7 percent yearly in the second quarter, following a 1.9 percent hike in the preceding quarter.

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Slovenia's retail sales increased in June from a year ago, preliminary figures from the Statistical Office of the Republic of Slovenia showed Thursday.

Retail sales volume rose 0.6 percent year-over-year in June. Excluding automotive fuel, sales dropped by 0.7 percent.

Sales of food, beverages and tobacco grew 0.2 percent in June from the previous year, while that for non-food products fell by 2.0 percent.

On a monthly basis, retail sales decreased 1.6 percent in June.

In the first half of this year, total retail sales went up 0.9 percent compared with the corresponding period last year.

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Eurozone economic confidence rose unexpectedly to a four-year high in July, survey results from European Commission showed Thursday.

The economic sentiment index came in at 104 in July. A similar reading was last seen in July 2011. Economists had forecast the indicator to fall to 103.2 from 103.5 in June.

The industrial sentiment index rose to -2.9 from -3.4 in June. The improvement was driven by managers' more positive views on the level of stocks of finished products.

The services confidence index moved up to 8.9 in July from 7.9 a month ago. It continued the broad upward trend on the back of managers' more positive views on all components entering the indicator, namely past business, past demand and demand expectations.

Meanwhile, consumer confidence slipped due to consumers' growing pessimism about the future general economic situation and future unemployment, which was only partly outweighed by more positive expectations in respect of their future savings. The index fell to -7.1 from -5.6 a month ago.

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Austria's manufacturing sector growth accelerated in June, as output and new orders rose at the strongest pace in almost one-and-a-half years, survey figures from Markit Economics showed Thursday.

The seasonally adjusted Bank Austria Manufacturing PMI climbed to 52.4 in July from 51.2 in the previous month. Any reading above 50 indicates expansion in the sector.

The latest reading reflected the most marked improvement in manufacturers' operating conditions since February 2014.

New business increased for the second month running in July, boosted by improved market conditions. New export orders also rose during the month, but the pace of expansion slowed from the previous month.

In line with rising new orders, firms raised their production levels further in July. As a result, the rate of output growth reached its strongest since February 2014.

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Portugal's consumer confidence improved in July to reach its highest level since April 2002, after worsening in the previous month, figures from Statistics Portugal showed Thursday.

The consumer confidence indicator rose to -19.0 in July from -20 in the previous month. In May, the reading was -19.7.

The positive contributions to the consumer confidence includes perspectives of the unemployment, that of the households' financial situation and of the country's economic situation, the agency said.

The overall economic sentiment indicator strengthened for the fifth straight month to 1.4 in July from 1.3 in June.

The indicator measuring the financial situation of the households over the next 12 months increased to -10.0 in July from -10.4. The assessment of general economic situation in the country strengthened in July, with the corresponding index rising to -9.7 from -10.1.

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Bulgaria's producer prices declined in June from a year ago, figures from the National Statistical Institute showed Thursday.

The total producer price index dropped 0.2 percent year-on-year in June. Prices in the manufacturing sector fell 1.3 percent, while that in mining and quarrying sector grew by 2.9 percent.

On a monthly basis, total producer prices decreased 0.6 percent in June.

Producer prices in the domestic market also declined 0.3 percent annually in June. Prices in the manufacturing sector fell by 2.6 percent annually in June, while that in mining and quarrying sector grew by 3.5 percent.

However, domestic producer prices rose 0.2 percent in June compared to the previous month.

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Norway's retail sales increased more-than-expected in June due to bad weather, figures from Statistics Norway showed Thursday.

Retail sales volume, excluding motor vehicles, rose a seasonally adjusted 1.0 percent month-over-month in June, in contrast to a 3.4 percent fall in the previous month. Economists had expected sales to rise 0.9 percent.

Most segments registered an increase in sales volume, particularly sales of clothing and footwear, and that of grocery stores. Sales of food, beverages and tobacco in specialized stores also contributed to the growth.

On a yearly basis, retail sales volume declined a working-day-adjusted 0.1 percent in June. Meanwhile, retail sales value rose by 2.8 percent.

In the April to June period, total retail sales volume expanded a working-day-adjusted 1.0 percent compared with the corresponding period of the previous year. Retail sales value also grew by 2.9 percent.

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Sweden's economic growth accelerated at a faster-than-expected pace in the second quarter, after easing in the prior quarter, figures from Statistics Sweden showed Thursday.

Gross domestic product advanced a seasonally adjusted 1.0 percent quarter-on-quarter in the three months ended June, faster than previous quarter's 0.4 growth.

The expected rate of increase was 0.7 percent. The latest rate of expansion was the highest since the third quarter 2013, when the economy grew the same 1.0 percent.

Both household and general government consumption expenditures increased by 0.6 percent in the June quarter. Inventories were almost unchanged as compared to the previous quarter.

At the same time, gross fixed capital formation decreased by 0.2 percent. Exports rose 0.9 percent, while imports dropped by 0.4 percent.

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Denmark's unemployment held steady for a third straight month at a 6-year low in June, while the industrial confidence indicator fell for the second consecutive month in July, figures from Statistics Denmark showed Thursday.

The seasonally adjusted jobless rate was 4.7 percent in June, unchanged since April. The rate was the lowest since May 2009, when it was 4.7 percent.

The number of unemployed people rose slightly to 125,962 in June from 125,953 in the preceding month.

The youth unemployment rate, which applies to the 16 to 24 age group, fell to 3.0 percent from 3.1 percent in the previous month.

Separate releases from the statistical office revealed that industrial confidence indicator fell to -11 in July from -8 in June. In May, the score was -6.

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Austria's producer prices continued to decline in June, preliminary figures from Statistics Austria showed Thursday.

The producer price index fell 1.0 percent year-over-year in June, slightly faster than previous month's 0.9 percent decrease. Producer prices have been falling since February 2013.

Prices in the energy sector declined 4.7 percent in June from a year ago, while prices in the intermediate goods sector grew by 0.2 percent.

On a monthly basis, producer prices showed no variations in June, the same as in the prior month.

During the first six months of the year, total producer prices slid 1.2 percent compared with the corresponding period last year.

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Austria's economy grew for a second straight quarter and at a faster rate, during the three months to June, preliminary estimates from the Austrian Institute of Economic Research, or WIFO, showed Thursday.

Gross domestic product grew 0.3 percent from the first quarter, when the economy expanded 0.2 percent, which was revised from 0.1 percent.

While consumption grew modestly, exports and gross fixed capital formation declined and imports stagnated. Domestic demand remains weak and labor market conditions continue to dampen spending, the WIFO said.

Year-on-year, GDP rose 0.4 percent in the second quarter, same as in the previous three months. The pace of growth was the fastest since the second quarter of 2014, when the economy expanded 0.5 percent.

On a seasonally-and-working-day adjusted basis, GDP rose 0.1 percent in the second quarter following 0.7 percent growth in the previous three months. It was the second consecutive quarter of growth.

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A measure of future economic activity in the swiss economy improved more-than-expected in June to reach its highest level in almost one year, survey results from the KOF Swiss Economic Institute showed Thursday.

The KOF Economic Barometer increased by 10 points to 99.8 in July from 89.8 in June, which was revised up from 89.7. Economists had expected the index to rise to 90.4.

The latest reading was the strongest since August 2014, when the reading was 100.1.

"The Barometer thus jumps back to its long-term mean value. While the strong Swiss franc continues to place a burden on the Swiss economy, however, the first shockwave after the abandon of the minimum price is clearly losing its power," the Zürich-based think tank said.

by RTT Staff Writer

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Germany's unemployment rate held steady in June, figures from Destatis showed Thursday.

The jobless rate came at an adjusted 4.7 percent in June, the same rate as in the previous month. In the corresponding month last year, the rate was 5.0 percent.

The number of unemployed people increased to 1.98 million in June from 1.97 million in May. A year earlier, the jobless figure totaled 2.10 million.

The jobless rate among the youth, aged below 25, also remained unchanged at 7.1 percent in June.

At the same time, employment rate rose marginally to 64.9 percent in June from 64.8 percent in the preceding month.

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Economic confidence from euro area and unemployment from Germany are due on Thursday, headlining a busy day for the European economic news.

At 3.00 am ET, flash consumer prices and preliminary GDP figures are due from Spain. Consumer prices are forecast to rise 0.1 percent on a yearly basis in July. Economic growth is expected to rise marginally to 1 percent in the second quarter from 0.9 percent in the prior quarter.

Swiss KOF leading index is also due at 3.00. The indicator is expected to rise to 90.4 in July from 89.7 in June.

Half an hour later, Statistics Sweden releases GDP data. Economists forecast the economy to grow 2.5 percent year-on-year in the second quarter.

At 3.55 am ET, Germany's labor agency is slated to publish unemployment data. The number of unemployed is forecast to fall by 5,000 in July following a decrease of 1,000 in June.

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Brazil's central bank lifted its key interest rate by 50 basis point on Wednesday despite seeing signs of recession in the economy.

The Selic rate was raised by 50 basis points to 14.25 percent from 13.75 percent. Policymakers unanimously voted for a rate hike without bias.

The bank said policymakers took decision after evaluating the macroeconomic scenario, the outlook for inflation and the current balance of risks.

The bank also said maintaining the basic interest rate at its current level for sufficiently long period is required to converge inflation to the target in late 2016.

The central bank plans to bring inflation to 2.5 percent to 6.5 percent range. The inflation measured by the 12-month accumulated broad national consumer price index reached 8.89 percent in July till now.

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Singapore's unemployment increased more-than-expected in the second quarter amid softer economic conditions, preliminary figures released by the Ministry of Manpower revealed Thursday.

The overall jobless rate rose to a seasonally adjusted 2 percent in the second quarter from 1.8 percent in the preceding quarter. Economists had expected the rate to rise to 1.9 percent.

After seasonal adjustments, the total number of unemployed people in Singapore came in at 73,300, out of which 56,100 were Singapore citizens.

Overall employment grew by 15,700 sequentially to 3.63 million, which represented a 2.4 percent increase year-over-year in the second quarter. However, the growth rate over the year was lower than the 2.7 percent seen in the first quarter.

Employment in the services sector increased at a faster pace in the second quarter, while that in the manufacturing sector dropped at a slower pace. On the other hand, construction employment rebounded from the previous quarter.

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