German growth slows to 1.5% in 2018

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

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FRANKFURT, Germany (AFP) — Growth in the German economy fell to 1.5 per cent in 2018, official data showed yesterday, representing a marked slowdown from the previous year's figure.

Officials from federal statistics authority Destatis told a Berlin press conference that last year was the ninth consecutive year of growth for Germany, although the expansion was weaker than the 2.2 per cent recorded in both 2016 and 2017.

Observers had been anxiously awaiting new hard data on growth in Europe's powerhouse economy, as fears mounted that it could have suffered a technical recession — or two successive quarters of retraction — at year's end.

While Destatis will not release an official fourth-quarter growth number until next month, there were “signs of a slight recovery” towards the end of the year, Destatis expert Albert Braakmann said.

In absolute terms, Germany's 2018 GDP was around 3.4 trillion euros (US$3.9 trillion) or 40,900 euros per person, Braakmann added.

With face-offs between Washington, Brussels and Beijing weighing on global trade, “positive growth impulses came above all from the domestic economy”, the statistician said, as consumer spending and capital investment increased.

That was reflected in trade data, as Germany's massive exports grew slower than imports.

“Overall, the pace of growth is getting back to normal after the boom period” in 2017, said analyst Claus Michelsen of Berlin-based think-tank DIW.

“If risks like a disorderly Brexit, a new government debt crisis in the eurozone or a trade war between the US and other economies are avoided, there should be decent growth this year too,” he added.

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