German economy grows 1.7 per cent in 2015

BERLIN -- The German economy, Europe's biggest, grew by 1.7 per cent last year, authorities said Thursday, a performance that was fueled mainly by domestic demand and was in line with the government's forecast.

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Growth in 2015 was slightly faster than the previous year's 1.6 per cent, the Federal Statistical Office said.

Exports grew 5.4 per cent, faster than the previous year's 4 per cent. However, they were outpaced by imports, whose growth accelerated to 5.7 per cent from 3.7 per cent.

That meant that foreign trade made a "relatively small contribution" of only 0.2 percentage points to growth, the statistical office said.

Household spending was up 1.9 per cent, roughly double the previous year's figure.

"All in all, the German economy has once again defied many external headwinds and performed another solid growth year in 2015," ING-DiBa economist Carsten Brzeski said.

"The year 2015 clearly marks an important step in the rebalancing of the German economy, as private consumption turned out to be an important growth driver," he said of the traditionally export-heavy economy.

The statistical office did not immediately give a fourth-quarter growth estimate. It is scheduled to issue an official quarterly growth figure next month.



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