The euro zone economy jumped marginally less than previously reported in the third quarter against the previous three months, making the year-on-year contraction slightly larger.

This is according to a second estimate form the EU statistics office showed today. 

The European Union's statistics office Eurostat said the economic output of the 19 countries sharing the euro surged 12.6% quarter-on-quarter in the three months from July to September, a downward revision from the 12.7% jump reported on October 30. 

This meant that year-on-year, euro zone GDP was 4.4% lower in the third quarter, rather than 4.3% reported before. 

The quarterly surge in activity was the result of economies re-opening after lockdowns in the first two quarters, imposed to slow down the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic. 

The rebound in economic activity corresponded with a 0.9% quarter-on-quarter increase in employment, Eurostat said, though year-on-year employment was still 2% lower in July-September. 

The single currency area also had a slightly higher than expected external trade surplus of €24.5 billion in September, Eurostat said, against expectations of €22 billion, and a €17 billion surplus a year earlier. 

But the improvement was not due to a rise in trade, but because as exports fell only 3.8% while imports plunged 8.9% year-on-year. 

In the first nine months of the year, the euro zone's trade deficit with China increased and its surpluses with the US and Britain fell.

But it had a much smaller trade gap with energy exporter Russia as prices plunged and turned deficits into surpluses with Turkey, Norway and South Korea. 

Adjusted for seasonal swings, the euro zone's trade surplus in September was €24 billion, up from €21 billion in August as exports rose 4.1% month-on-month and imports rose only 2.7%