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German economy unexpectedly grows in second quarter

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German economy unexpectedly grows in second quarter
Photo: DPA
10:50 CEST+02:00
The German economy grew unexpectedly for the first time since early 2008 in the second quarter of this year, the Federal Statistics Office (Destatis) reported on Thursday.

After Europe's biggest economy was thrown into a deep recession by the global financial crisis, the downward spiral appears to have come to an abrupt end.

Gross domestic product was up by 0.3 percent from the first quarter, though adjusted comparison with the same quarter of last year showed a decrease of 5.9 percent in economic output, Destatis said from its headquarters in Wiesbaden.

“The stabilisation of the German economy in the second quarter turned out a bit better than we expected it would,“ Economy Minister Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg said on Thursday. “They show that the worst part of the economic downturn is behind us.”

He said the positive data were proof the government’s stimulus programme was taking hold, but warned against being too euphoric in light of the dramatic economic collapse caused by the financial crisis.

Economists had predicted further shrinkage of about 0.2 percent for the second quarter after the economy shrank a record 3.5 percent in the first three months of 2009.

“Household and government final consumption expenditure and also capital formation in construction exerted a positive impact compared with the previous quarter,” a statement said.

Germany is the world's third largest exporter and its trade balance, which showed a sharper decline in imports than exports, also had a positive effect on the figures. But lowered inventories had the opposite effect.

Meanwhile the jump in growth occurred with a reduction of 25,000 workers compared to the same time last year. Current figures show Germany has a workforce of 40.2 million.

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