BERLIN Feb 23 The German economy quadrupled its
growth rate to 0.4 percent in the fourth quarter of 2016 as
higher state spending, rising private consumption and
construction more than offset a drag from net foreign trade,
data showed on Thursday.
Confirming a preliminary reading for growth, the Federal
Statistics Office said exports increased by 1.8 percent on the
quarter and imports rose by 3.1 percent, meaning net foreign
trade subtracted 0.4 percentage points from gross domestic
product (GDP) growth.
State spending jumped 0.8 percent, contributing 0.2
percentage points to growth. German authorities are spending
billions of euros on accommodating and integrating more than one
million refugees who have arrived since the start of 2015, many
from war zones such as Syria and Iraq.
Household spending rose by 0.3 percent on the quarter, also
adding 0.2 percentage points to GDP in the three months through
December. Consumers are benefitting from record-high employment,
rising real wages and low borrowing costs.
Investment in construction increased by 1.6 percent in the
fourth quarter, adding 0.2 percentage points to growth.
Germany's growing population, increased job security and
record-low interest rates are fuelling a property boom.
(Reporting by Michael Nienaber; Editing by Michelle Martin)