Happiness is relative in Europe these days: Investors seemed to cheer news that the Euro-area's top economies did not turn in the abysmal results many had expected.
Instead, things are just "garden-variety" bad: France's economy did not shrink in the second quarter. Quite on the contrary, France posted a growth rate of zero. German GDP grew at the brisk pace of three-tenths percent. The output for all the nations of the euro together contracted two-tenths percent.
The BBC's Steve Evans discusses the matter with us from Berlin. He says the German economy is still bumping along, but only at about half the rate of growth from the beginning of the year, and that's because a major part of its trading is with the rest of the eurozone. "I think it will harden their attitude to giving money through bailouts. I think these figures out today will increase the demands from France, for example, for stimulus, and increase the resistance of Germans towards giving that stimulus."
As for France, Evans says the country is celebrating a bit because they expected the numbers would be worse. President Holland "is going to have to start looking at things like cuts in expenditure or rises in taxation soon," says Evans.