[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Last Updated: Thursday, 12 February, 2004, 07:52 GMT
German economy creeps into growth
Opel factory
German companies may be starting to invest again
The recession-mired German economy has started to grow, but at a slower rate than most analysts expected.

During the fourth quarter of 2003, annual output growth was just 0.2%, according to preliminary figures.

The news confirms that the downward trend of 2003 is at last starting to reverse, but much less resolutely than economists had hoped.

And the 0.2% rise could have been the result of statistical factors, meaning that actual performance was stagnant.

In France, by contrast, growth was 0.5% in the fourth quarter, preliminary figures indicated.

High hopes

The figures, which are due to be released in expanded form on 19 February, do offer some hope for likely performance in 2004.

The component of gross domestic product relating to consumption was relatively strong, the Federal Statistics Office said.

This could be an indication that companies are starting to invest more, something that could promise eventually to reduce Germany's heavy unemployment.

"The relatively strong domestic demand gives cause for hope that 2004 will be better," said Bernd Weidensteiner of DZ Bank.

"At some point consumption will become unblocked and then all the pieces of the puzzle will be in place for a recovery."


SEE ALSO:
German reformer sacked by Berlin
25 Jan 04  |  Business
German economy shrank during 2003
15 Jan 04  |  Business
Bundestag approves major reforms
19 Dec 03  |  Europe
German jobless rate inches lower
04 Dec 03  |  Business
Modest gains for Europe factories
01 Dec 03  |  Business
OECD sees faster economic growth
26 Nov 03  |  Business


RELATED INTERNET LINKS:
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites


PRODUCTS AND SERVICES

News Front Page | Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East | South Asia
UK | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature | Technology | Health
Have Your Say | In Pictures | Week at a Glance | Country Profiles | In Depth | Programmes
Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific