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BERLIN (Reuters) - The German economy likely grew in the third quarter despite a weak global backdrop thanks to a strong performance by German industry and robust exports to areas outside the euro zone, the Finance Ministry wrote in its monthly report.
"Expansion in German industrial production...likely gave significant growth impetus. Most analysts did not expect this given the deterioration in the business mood," the report said.
Many economists had forecast the economy would contract in the third quarter, particularly as Germany's closely-watched Ifo business sentiment index worsened for five months in succession.
"All in all, German exports continue to appear robust despite a slow-down in global momentum... Stimulus for the export market came above all from non-euro zone countries," the report said.
German growth slowed to 0.3 percent in the second quarter from 0.5 percent in the first as firms postponed investments due to concerns about the 17-nation bloc's troubles.
The Finance Ministry said in the fourth quarter of 2012 there could be a significant weakening in economic activity, due to the depressed business climate in other euro zone states, but the German economy would pick up gradually during 2013.
Last week the government slashed its 2013 growth forecast to 1 percent from 1.6 percent due to European economic weakness, though it lifted its expectation for 2012 by 0.1 percentage points to 0.8 percent.
Germany's economy powered through the first two years of the euro zone's sovereign debt crisis, posting 4.2 percent growth in 2010 and 3 percent last year at a time when some peers were seeking bailouts and others were grinding to a halt.
However the woes of some of its southern European partners have now started to impact economic performance.
Reporting by Rene Wagner, writing by Alexandra Hudson; editing by Ron Askew