|German economy expected to rebound after shrinking in fourth quarter
The German economy, Europe's biggest, shrank in the last quarter of 2012, as the eurozone crisis hit exports, data showed on Thursday, but analysts said activity would bounce back quickly.
The national statistics office Destatis calculated that gross domestic product contracted by 0.6 percent in price, calendar and seasonally adjusted terms in the period from October to December, AFP reports.
Analysts and economists had been pencilling in a drop of 0.5 percent after Destatis said in January that the economy had contracted by "around half a percentage point'' at the end of last year.
Growth has indeed been slowing all year as the eurozone debt crisis puts the brake on exports.
GDP grew by 0.5 percent in the first quarter of 2012 and then by 0.3 percent in the second quarter and 0.2 percent in the third quarter.
With the contraction of 0.6 percent in the fourth quarter, the economy expanded by just 0.7 percent across the whole of 2012, compared with 3.0 percent in 2011, Destatis said in a statement.
The statisticians noted, however, that due to the timing of the Christmas holidays, there were three fewer working days in 2012 than in 2011.
Adjusted for that effect, the German economy grew by 0.9 percent overall last year, they calculated.
The fourth-quarter data "offer mixed signals,'' Destatis said. "While consumer and state spending increased slightly, investment in construction was down and investment in equipment fell even more sharply,'' it said.