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Eurozone economic growth ground to a halt in the second quarter as Germany's economy shrank and France's stagnated.Germany, Europe's largest economy, contracted by 0.2 percent in the quarter, undermining Bundesbank forecasts that gross domestic product would be unchanged.France fared little better; its GDP failed to grow for the second quarter in a row. That forced the French government to confront reality, saying it would miss its budget deficit target this year, and cutting its 2014 forecast for 1 percent growth in half.Italy's economy, the eurozone's third largest, slid back into recession for the third time since 2008 in the second quarter, shrinking by 0.2 percent. There was no mention of the goal of bringing France's public debt into line with the EU's cap of 3 percent of GDP by 2015 .The Netherlands reversed a first-quarter contraction to expand by 0.5 percent, Austria was up 0.2 percent on the quarter and Finland eked out 0.1 percent growth.Consumer demand probably helped second-quarter growth – retail sales rose 0.4 percent on the quarter.Its economy shrank in the second quarter at the slowest pace since late 2008, supporting expectations that Athens will emerge from its six-year slump this year.
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