German economy records zero growth in fourth quarter | News | DW | 14.02.2020
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German economy records zero growth in fourth quarter

The German economy stagnated at the end of 2019, new figures have shown. Authorities had expected 0.1% growth.

The German economy posted zero growth in the final quarter of 2019, the federal statistics authority (Destasis) reported in preliminary statistics on Friday.

The Gross domestic product (GDP) was the same in October-December as in the previous three months.

Read more: Cash-strapped governments a thing of the past?

The results were worse than forecast, with predictions of 0.1% growth.

However, Destastis revised its results for the third quarter, with the GDO growing by 0.2% instead of the 0.1% previously reported.

The new figures mean an annual growth rate of 0.6% in 2019, the worst growth since 2013.

The overall economic stagnation in the fourth quarter is already a small success," Dr. Fritzi Koehler-Geib, chief economist at KfW banking group told AFP news agency, adding that Germany would have to wait until spring to see signs of recovery.

Read more: US businesses less willing to invest in Germany

"At least for the first quarter, there are signs of a noticeable slowdown in the Chinese, and thus also the global economy as a consequence of the coronavirus."

The zero growth is a reflection of broader eurozone slowness with headwinds from the US-China trade dispute and Brexit. The European Central bank has been trying to stimulate growth and inflation in the 19-country eurozone, with negative interest rates
and bond purchases with newly printed money.

Germany's manufacturing and export sectors have been sluggish, but consumer spending and services businesses helped keep the country out of recession.

Germany's auto industry is also facing structural change, with regulatory pressure and inernational competition forcing companies forced to sink billions into developing electric cars and new services based on smartphone apps. 

Europe's three biggest economies all stagnated or shrank in the last three months of the year. 

aw/rc (dpa, AFP, AP)

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