The German economy shrank in the fourth quarter
of 2012: compared with the previous quarter with the gross domestic product (
declining –0.6% after seasonal adjustments. The German economy grew in the first
three quarters of 2012 (by +0.5%, 0.3% and 0.2%). Destatis, the federal
statistic office, also reported an increase of +0.7% for the whole of
2012. French GDP also shrank in the final quarter, –0.3%, after +0.1% rise
the previous quarter. Over the year, French GDP growth was zero in 2012, after
+1.7% in 2011.
Compared with a year earlier, German GDP in the
fourth quarter of 2012 was 0.1% higher than in the fourth quarter of 2011.
In a quarter-on-quarter comparison (adjusted for
price, seasonal and calendar variations), indicators from the domestic market
were mixed according to provisional calculations: household and government final
consumption expenditure went up slightly. In contrast, gross fixed capital
formation in construction decreased a bit and gross fixed capital formation in
machinery and equipment was down markedly on the third quarter of 2012. The
decline of the GDP at the end of 2012 was mainly due to the comparably weak
German foreign trade: in the final quarter of 2012, exports of goods went down
much more than imports of goods.
The economic performance in the fourth quarter of
2012 was achieved by 41.9 million persons in employment, which was an increase
of 320,000 persons or 0.8% on a year earlier.
INSEE, France's national statistics office, said
households’ consumption expenditure slightly increased at the end of the year
(+0.2% after +0.3%). Their growth was offset by a fall (–1.0% after –0.5%) in
fixed capital investment. Total domestic demand (excluding inventory changes)
was neutral on GDP evolution (after +0.1 point). Exports in Q4 (–0.6% after
+0.7%) and imports‘ fell (–0.8% after –0.5%). The foreign trade balance
contributed again positively to GDP growth in Q4 : +0.1 point after +0.3 point
the previous quarter. Changes in inventories continued to weigh down on GDP
growth in Q4: –0.4 point, after –0.3 point the previous quarter.
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