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British economy is healing: finance minister

LONDON (Reuters) - Britain's finance minister George Osborne said on Thursday the latest GDP data showed the economy was on the mend but there were still challenges ahead due to weak data coming from the euro zone.

Figures released on Thursday showed Britain pulled out of recession in the third quarter, posting its strongest quarterly gross domestic product growth in five years.

"There is still a long way to go, but these figures show we are on the right track," Osborne said in a statement. "This (is) another sign that the economy is healing ..."

He added however: "Yesterday's weak data from the euro zone were a reminder that we still face many economic challenges at home and abroad."

The Office for National Statistics said Britain's gross domestic product rose by 1.0 percent between July and September, beating forecasts for a 0.6 percent gain, after shrinking by 0.4 percent between April and June.

On the year, the economy was flat, better than expected.

(Reporting By Maria Golovnina; editing by Steve Addison)