German economy shrinks 0.6 pct in Q4 on weak exports

BERLIN Thu Feb 14, 2013 2:00am EST

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BERLIN Feb 14 (Reuters) - Germany's economy shrank by 0.6 percent in the final quarter of 2012, its deepest contraction since the height of the global financial crisis in 2009 as exports slowed at the end of the year, seasonally-adjusted data showed on Thursday.

Preliminary Statistics Office data also showed Europe's largest economy still grew on the year, albeit at a meagre 0.1 percent, down from 0.4 percent growth in the third quarter.

"Comparatively weak foreign trade was the decisive factor for the decline in the economic performance at the end of the year: in the final quarter of 2012 exports of goods declined significantly more than imports of goods," the Statistics Office said in a statement.

The quarterly decline was a tick deeper than a forecast for a 0.5 percent contraction in a Reuters poll of 45 economists and was the lowest since Germany's economy contracted by 4.1 percent in the first quarter of 2009.

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