Germany ends 2015 with weak economy performance

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Berlin, Feb 9 (IANS) German industrial output and exports declined in December 2015, official data showed on Tuesday, indicating a shaky growth of Europe’s biggest economy.

Adjusted for seasonal swings and inflation effects, production in German industrial sector fell by 1.2 percent from the previous month in December 2015, Xinhua quoted German federal statistics office Destatis as saying.

It followed a monthly decrease of 0.1 percent in November. In the final quarter of 2015, the factory output dropped by 0.8 percent.

“The industrial production went through a dry spell at the end of 2015,” said German economy ministry in a statement.

Another release from the statistics office also said both German exports and imports declined by 1.6 percent in December, narrowing adjusted-net exports to 19.4 billion euros (about $21.8 billion).

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Foreign trade was Germany’s traditional driving engine but remained subdued in recent years due to weak global growth.

Economists at Berlin-based German Institute for Economic Research expected that net exports would no longer contribute the growth over the next two years.

“This morning’s data were a painful reminder that not all is hunky dory in the Eurozone’s largest economy,” said ING-DiBa Bank’s chief economist Carsten Brzeski.

“In fact, the German ‘Wirtschaftswunder’ has only some domestic magic left,” he said, referring to dynamic private consumption boosted by strong labour market, low inflation, low interest rates and increasing wages.

German consumers’ confidence stood at a high level despite risks of terror attacks and refugee crisis. In 2015, retail sector in the country logged the strongest sales increase in over 10 years.

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Destatis was scheduled to release data of growth in the fourth quarter of 2015 on Friday. Based on provisionary calculations, it reported that the economic growth over the whole year stood at 1.7 percent.

Economists expected that gross domestic product of Germany would increase by 0.3 percent during the last three months of 2015, followed by a growth of 0.4 percent in the first quarter of 2016.

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