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German economy grew by 1.9% in 2016

The German economy, Europe's largest, grew by 1.9 percent in 2016 on the back of robust domestic consumption, the federal statistics office Destatis said Thursday in a preliminary estimate.

BERLIN: The German economy, Europe's largest, grew by 1.9 per cent in 2016 powered by private consumption and state spending on refugees, the federal statistics office Destatis said Thursday (Jan 12) in a preliminary estimate.

The estimate beats last year's growth figure of 1.7 per cent but is still subject to change once the official fourth quarter results are in.

"Domestic consumption was decisive for the positive development in the German economy in 2016," Destatis said in a statement, pointing to 2.0-per cent growth in private consumption and a 4.2 per cent increase in government spending.

"One of the reasons for this strong growth is that a large number of people seeking refuge immigrated, which resulted in considerable costs," Destatis said.

Exports, traditionally the motor of the German economy, were less critical in 2016, expanding 2.5 per cent as imports increased 3.4 per cent.

Overall growth overshot the 1.8-per cent forecast of the Bundesbank, Germany's central bank - which had already upped its forecast for the year in December.

It was the fastest growth recorded in Germany since 2011 - when the economy expanded by 3.7 per cent.

Destatis noted that 2016 saw growth 0.5 per cent higher than the average of the past 10 years.

The statisticians also noted that Germany notched up a surplus on its public budget equivalent to 0.6 per cent of gross domestic product (GDP).

In absolute terms, German GDP increased to more than €3.1 trillion (US$3.3 trillion) consolidating its position above the 3.0 trillion threshold breached for the first time in 2015.