German GDP expands in 2015 | Business| Economy and finance news from a German perspective | DW | 14.01.2016
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German GDP expands in 2015

Record high employment, historically low interest rates and low inflation boosted Germany's economic growth in 2015, the statistics office has reported. Those factors had one common effect: People were spending more.

The German economy expanded by 1.7 percent in 2015, a rate of growth not experienced since 2011, the Federal Statistics Office said on Thursday.

Consumer spending was the big driver behind the boost, rising by 1.9 percent on the year, statisticians and analysts said. Not only were more people able to find or keep jobs, prices did not go up as quickly as they normally do.

This combination emboldened consumers to open their wallets and thus, stimulate business.

"Consumption was the most important growth factor in 2015 for the German economy," said Dieter Sarreither, the president of the statistics office.

On Wednesday, the German Finance Ministry cited the same factors as reasons for bringing in record-high tax revenues, leaving a budget surplus that was twice as high as expected.

Spend more, trade more

Thanks to a weak euro, German exporters were also able to sell 5.4 percent more goods abroad despite faltering demand from China, the world's second largest economy and a key delivery area.

German firms invested more in 2015, the statistics office said, but at a slower pace than the year prior. Spending on machines and facilities rose by 3.6 percent year-on-year in 2015, but in 2014 that number was 4.5 percent.

The data also showed a trade surplus of 0.5 percent in 2015, up slightly from a 0.3 percent surplus in 2014. Germany has been widely criticized for selling more than it buys, as many weaker economies say it should contribute more to global growth.

cjc/pad (Reuters, dpa)

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