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Germany Skirts Recession In Q1

The German economy avoided a recession in the first quarter on exports and investment in construction, preliminary data from Destatis showed on Tuesday.

Gross domestic product grew a more-than-expected 0.2 percent sequentially in the first quarter, in contrast to the revised 0.5 percent decrease in the preceding three months.

The biggest euro area economy was expected to grow marginally by 0.1 percent.

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Destatis said that the growth was driven by exports and gross fixed capital formation in construction. Meanwhile, household spending declined from a quarter ago.

Despite the expansion in the first quarter, structural weakness will put a speed limit on the recovery, ING economist Carsten Brzeski said.

On a yearly basis, calendar-adjusted GDP shrank 0.2 percent, the same rate as seen in the fourth quarter and also matched expectations.

Price-adjusted GDP logged an annual fall of 0.9 percent after a 0.4 percent drop, data showed. Detailed results will be released on May 24.

Elsewhere, the Federal Labor Agency reported that the unemployment rate in Germany held steady at 5.9 percent in April.

The number of people out of work increased by 10,000 persons. The figure was bigger than the expected rise of 7,000 and March’s increase of 6,000.

Although the German economy has been struggling for two years, the situation on the labor market remains robust, Daniel Terzenbach, regional director at Federal Employment Agency, said.

According to the labor force survey by Destatis, the ILO jobless rate remained unchanged at adjusted 3.2 percent in March.

On an unadjusted basis, the unemployment rate rose to 3.4 percent from 2.9 percent in the previous year.

Separately, Destatis said retail sales rebounded more than expected in March.

Sales posted a monthly increase of 1.8 percent, faster than the 1.3 percent expected increase. On a yearly basis, sales were up 0.3 percent.

Food sales gained 3.6 percent monthly, while non-food sales dropped 0.2 percent.

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