France, however, remains a greater cause for concern as its economy faces a number of problems that don't trouble Germany as much. The French government has to keep a tight leash on its finances, unemployment is around 10 percent and its exporters are struggling, not least in the auto sector, with both Peugeot-Citroen and Renault struggling.
Though many analysts think France's recent structural reforms will help make the economy more competitive, any tangible gains will not be seen for a while.
"Unfortunately, their positive impact on competitiveness, employment and activity will take time to materialize and will do little to mitigate economic pain in the short term," said Herve Goulletquer, an analyst at Credit Agricole CIB.
Alongside the debt-reduction efforts that governments are pursuing across the eurozone, the region's exporters also have to contend with a currency that has been rallying on foreign exchange markets, potentially making their products less competitive in the international marketplace.
Thursday's downbeat figures offered some respite though, as the euro fell sharply against a broad range of currencies. At one point, the currency was 1 percent lower at $1.3316 and down 1.2 percent at 123.85 yen.
Pylas contributed from London.
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