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German economy unexpectedly stalls in Q4'19

The German economy unexpectedly stalled in the last three months of 2019 amid a slowdown in consumer and government consumption, after growing at a revised 0.2% rate in the prior quarter, preliminary estimates from the Federal Statistical Office showed.

The consensus estimate of economists polled by Econoday was for a quarter-over-quarter growth rate of 0.1%.

Household and government final consumption slowed "markedly" while gross fixed capital formation in machinery and equipment declined "considerably," the Federal Statistical Office showed. Exports slipped.

On an annual basis, the economy's price- and calendar-adjusted GDP grew 0.4% in the fourth quarter of 2019, compared to 0.6% in the prior quarter.

The body reiterated that full-year GDP growth was 0.6%, compared to a 1.5% expansion rate in 2018. The print was above Deutsche Bundesbank's 0.5% estimate but was the lowest pace since 2013.

The growth in the economy's exports slowed to 0.9% from 2.1% while that in imports slowed to 1.9% from 3.6%, according to preliminary data released in January. Meanwhile, industrial output, which makes up about a quarter of the economy, declined 3.6% in 2019 due to the weak automotive industry.

The central bank in December 2019 lowered its 2020 growth forecast to 0.6% from 1.2%. It projected the economic slowdown to persist through the first quarter of 2020 but added that there is "no reason to expect that Germany will slide into recession."