Investment and consumers drive German Q1 growth to 3-yr high

BERLIN Fri May 23, 2014 2:05am EDT

BERLIN May 23 (Reuters) - Strong investment and spendthrift consumers drove the German economy to its fastest growth in three years in the first quarter, but the expansion was helped by milder than usual winter weather and is expected to slow.

Germany's Federal Statistics Office on Friday confirmed an earlier flash estimate of seasonally-adjusted gross domestic product (GDP) growth of 0.8 percent on the quarter between January and March. On the year, the economy grew by 2.5 percent.

Domestic demand added 1.7 percentage points to GDP in the first quarter, while foreign trade subtracted 0.9 percentage point from growth.

Plant and equipment investment grew by 3.3 percent, the strongest level in 3-1/2 years, while construction investment, up 3.6 percent, posted the strongest quarterly growth in three years. (Reporting by Annika Breidthardt, Michelle Martin and Stephen Brown)

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