Germany posts 0.6 percent Q1 GDP growth

Germany posts 0.6 percent Q1 GDP growth

The growth pick up contrasts with a slowdown in the eurozone's second biggest economy France in Q1 and means Germany's GDP rate exceeded that of the United Kingdom and USA at the start of the year.

Household and state spending were strong, while firms invested money in construction and equipment, said German statistics authority Destatis.

This met economists' forecasts and meant Germany's economy comfortably outpaced the USA, which expanded by 0.7% annualized in the first quarter.

On the year, GDP grew by 1.7% on a seasonally unadjusted basis in the first quarter, which was also in line with the consensus forecast.

Employment rates in the country are at a record high.

More news: Timeline | Thunderstorms rolling through on Mother's Day weekend

Fear that trade barriers could spring up with Britain, one of Europe's largest economies and a key trading partner for Germany, meant that Brexit sapped the confidence of businesspeople, investors and consumers alike.

Gross domestic product (GDP) rose 0.6 percent after adjustment for price, seasonal and calendar variations between January and March, the Federal Statistical Office in Wiesbaden reported in a preliminary report.

Germany's economy expanded by 0.4 percent in the fourth quarter of 2016.

Looking ahead, Germany could surprise observers with even faster growth over the rest of the year, said analyst Florian Hense of Berenberg bank.

However, so far the increase has not been enough to bring unemployment substantially lower, partly because the number of people in the job market has also been rising.

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