April 19, 2018 / 10:11 PM / a year ago

German growth likely to slow in first quarter: finance ministry

FILE PHOTO: People carry their shopping bags in downtown Hamburg, Germany, January 25, 2018. REUTERS/Fabian Bimmer

BERLIN (Reuters) - German economic growth could slow slightly in the first quarter, but the upswing in Europe’s largest economy remains robust and broad-based thanks to strong domestic and foreign demand, the finance ministry said on Friday.

The German economy, which grew by 0.6 percent on the quarter in the last three months of 2017, is enjoying a consumer-led upswing. Company investments and exports have kicked in as additional growth drivers in recent months.

“Economic indicators are signaling a slight weakening in the dynamics of gross domestic product growth at the beginning of the year,” the ministry said in its monthly report, pointing to weaker-than-expected industrial output in February.

“However, the economic upturn in Germany remains robust and is broadly supported by both external and domestic factors,” the ministry added.

From January to March, tax revenues of the federal government and the 16 regional states rose 4.1 percent year-on-year, the finance ministry said. That is roughly in line with the projected rise of 4.2 percent for the whole year.

The German government will update its 2018 growth forecast next week. In January, it projected gross domestic product to expand by 2.4 percent this year.

Germany’s leading economic institutes said on Thursday they expect the economy to grow by 2.2 percent this year and by 2.0 percent in 2019.

Reporting by Michael Nienaber,; Editing by Joseph Nasr

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