Household spending saves Germany from recession

FRANKFURT (AFP) - An increase in spending by consumers and households offset sagging exports and falling investment in Germany in the first quarter, allowing Europe's biggest economy to narrowly avoid recession, official data showed on Friday.

The federal statistics office Destatis calculated in final data that Germany's gross domestic product (GDP) grew by 0.1 per cent in the period from January to March following a contraction of 0.7 per cent in the preceding quarter.

The data confirm a preliminary estimate already published earlier this month.

A recession is technically defined as two consecutive quarters of economic contraction.

A breakdown of the data showed that out of the different GDP components only private consumer spending was positive, growing by 0.8 per cent.

Public-sector spending slipped by 0.1 per cent, investment tumbled 2.4 per cent, imports were down 2.1 per cent and exports contracted by 1.8 per cent, the statisticians calculated.

As stated earlier this month, Destatis blamed the unexpectedly weak start to the year to the "extreme winter weather conditions."

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