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German economy returns to growth after slump

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Photo: DPA
09:25 CEST+02:00
Germany has led the troubled eurozone out of recession after recording faster than expected economic growth, figures released on Wednesday suggested.

Europe's biggest economy grew by 0.7 percent from April to June – its fastest growth for more than a year - beating forecasters' predictions, after the country's gross domestic product (GDP) had stagnated in the first three months of the year.

Germany's economy only narrowly avoided a recession earlier this year following a winter slump.

Its latest growth has been powered by an increase in domestic consumption, exports and public investment.

The figures will be welcome news for Chancellor Angela Merkel ahead of the general election on September 22. Her party is already a long way ahead of their rivals in the polls, but her coalition partners the Free Democratic Party (FDP) are lagging behind.

With France's economy also exiting recession, Berenberg Bank economist Christian Schulz said: "The eurozone's two heavy-weights bounced back with substantial growth in the second quarter. Their growth, in combination with the much milder recession in the crisis countries, has dragged the eurozone out of recession since Easter."

"The economic upturn is continuing," said Germany's Economy Minister Philipp Rösler in a statement. "People in Germany have every reason to look to the future with optimisim. We've overcome the weakness we experienced in the winter months.”

But Natixis economist Johannes Gareis said he felt Germany's second-quarter performance was "rather unspectacular".

Although unemployment has also fallen, the hangover of the economic crisis is still being felt by ordinary Germans.

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On Tuesday figures showed an alarming rise in food prices with some products increasing by 50 percent.

AFP/The Local/tsb

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