BERLIN May 23 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
(Reporting by Annika Breidthardt, Michelle Martin and Stephen