German economic growth flat in 2013, but deficit under control | Business| Economy and finance news from a German perspective | DW | 15.01.2014
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German economic growth flat in 2013, but deficit under control

In 2013, Europe’s largest economy, Germany, barely carved out growth as it persistently lost steam over the year. Thanks to robust employment and strong consumer spending, the public deficit didn’t spin out of control.

Germany's gross domestic product (GDP) had expanded by a meager 0.4 percent in 2013, the country's statistics office, Destatis, announced Wednesday.

Europe's biggest economy lost considerable steam in the course of last year because output expansion declined from a rate of 0.7 percent in spring over 0.3 percent in the summer to just 0.25 percent in the final quarter of 2013, Destatis data showed.

“Apparently, the German economy was slowed by the recession in many eurozone countries as well as by sluggish global demand,” said Destatis President Roderich Egeler.

Egeler also said that robust domestic consumption could only partly offset a decline in investment and a slowdown in export growth.

According to the data, the rate of output expansion in 2013 was the lowest since 2009. Growth last year came down from 0.7 percent in 2012 and a staggering 3.3 percent in the previous year of 2011.

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Unlike many of its eurozone partners, however, the German economy didn't fall back into a recession last year. This was primarily due to strong consumer spending driven by record employment, Destatis said. Private consumption rose 0.9 percent in 2013, while state spending expanded by 1.1 percent.

Deficit under control

Strong domestic figures also contributed to largely sound state finances in Germany in 2013.

The German public deficit grew slightly by 0.1 percent, which amounted to a combined shortfall of 1.7 billion euros ($2.3 billion) in the coffers of the central and regional governments, as well as communities and social security systems.

“Income tax revenue, which makes up half of German public spending, and strong social security contributions on the back of a robust labor market, made sure that public coffers were well-filled, Destatis' Roderich Egeler said.

But although the German public deficit stayed within the EU limit of 3 percent of GDP for the third year in a row, it came down from a budget surplus of 0.1 percent in 2012.

uhe/hc (Reuters, AFP, dpa)

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