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Germany logs weakest GDP growth in 6 years

The German economy grew 0.6% in 2019, the weakest pace of growth since 2013, compared to a 1.5% expansion rate in 2018, preliminary data from the country's Federal Statistics Office showed.

GDP was primarily supported by household final consumption expenditure, which rose by 1.6% on a price-adjusted basis, compared to the prior year's 1.3%. Government final consumption expenditure growth also accelerated, to 2.5% from 1.4%. Meanwhile, gross fixed capital formation increased 2.5%, down from 3.5% a year before.

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%.

The service and construction sectors recorded mainly "high growth rates," the office said, adding that industrial output, which makes up about a quarter of the economy, slumped 3.6%, dragged by the automotive industry.

The number of people employed increased by about 400,000 to a record 45.3 million.

While it is uncertain whether the act of household consumption and government spending offsetting a manufacturing slowdown will continue in 2020, an expected global trade rebound, low interest rates and a weak euro should support the export sector, wrote Carsten Brzeski, chief economist at ING Germany.

However, the economy is in a worse shape structurally than before, restraining the country's ability to benefit from a global rebound, Brzeski said, calling for new reforms and investment.

The government recorded a budget surplus of 1.5% of GDP. Europe's largest economy, which is keen to stick to a balanced budget for 2020, has been facing calls to increase fiscal spending to spur growth.

The euro rose 0.2% against the dollar around 7:51 a.m. ET.

Data on initial fourth-quarter 2019 GDP will be published Feb. 14, with detailed results due Feb. 25.