Germany's economy, the biggest in Europe, is already faring better in 2004. The gross domestic product grew by 0.4 percent, adjusted for inflation and seasonal swings, in the first quarter compared to the previous quarter, the Federal Statistics Office said on Thursday. The economy grew by 1.5 percent compared to last year's first quarter value of 0.4 percent and the fastest growth the country has experienced in three years. "The continuation of the economic recovery in the first quarter is a positive signal,'' Economics and Labor Minister Wolfgang Clement said in a statement. "I am confident that external impulses as much as our structural changes will further boost domestic demand over the course of this year and next.'' The Bundesbank, Germany's central bank, had only expected growth of 0.25 percent in the first quarter. Rising exports made up for the drop in domestic demand.