Germany's Q1 GDP Growth Eases On Foreign Trade

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Germany's economic growth halved in the first quarter on weak trade, data from Destatis showed Tuesday.

Gross domestic product grew 0.3 percent sequentially, slower than the 0.6 percent expansion seen in the previous quarter and the expected rate of 0.4 percent. This was the weakest growth in more than a year.

Nonetheless, Destatis said this was the 15th quarter-on-quarter growth in a row, contributing to the longest upswing phase since 1991.

According to provisional calculations, positive contributions were made by domestic demand. Also, fixed capital formation, especially in construction but also in machinery and equipment, was markedly up.

Households slightly increased their final consumption expenditure, while government spending fell for the first time in just under five years and had a downward effect on economic growth.

Further, development of foreign trade was less dynamic because both exports and imports decreased on the previous quarter.

On a yearly basis, calendar-adjusted GDP climbed 2.3 percent after expanding 2.9 percent in the fourth quarter. The annual rate was forecast to ease to 2.4 percent.

Similarly, price-adjusted GDP growth eased to 1.6 percent from 2.3 percent a quarter ago.

There are some good reasons to expect German growth to pick up in the rest of this year, Jennifer McKeown, an economist at Capital Economics, said.

Construction output and consumer spending were probably hit by the bad weather in the first quarter, while strikes and a flu outbreak dented industrial output, the economist noted.

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