German gross domestic product (GDP) grew by a surprisingly strong 0.7 percent in the fourth quarter of last year, compared with the previous three-months period, the National Statistics Office (Destatis) reported Friday.
The news stunned economists who had penciled in an average 0.3 percent of expansion for the final three months of 2014.
"After the robust start in the first quarter and subsequent weakness in the second and third quarters, the economy stabilized again towards the end of the year," Destatis said in a statement on its website.
Germans consuming more
The agency singled out strong consumer spending as the main growth driver, adding that investment was also positive, particularly in equipment and the building sector.
The positive Q4 result brought full-year GDP expansion to 1.6 percent, up from an earlier estimate of 1.5 percent.
"That's quite impressive indeed," UniCredit Chief Economist Andreas Rees told Reuters. "It's not only private consumers spending more because of lower energy costs, record-high employment and rising wages; companies too are showing a greater willingness to invest more."
Also on Friday, the European statistics office, Eurostat, reported the eurozone posted 0.3-percent growth in the fourth quarter of 2014.
Topping the table was Estonia where the economy expanded by 1.1 percent. Cyprus, Finland and Greece were the only euro area nations in negative territory.
For the whole of 2014, the eurozone showed 0.9-percent growth, Eurostat said in its report.
hg/bea (Reuters, AFP)