BERLIN (AFP) - Europe’s largest economy Germany stagnated in the final quarter of 2019, preliminary official data showed yesterday, with zero growth on the previous three months. Gross domestic product (GDP) was the same in October-December as in the previous quarter, federal statistics authority Destatis said.
Statisticians also revised their third quarter figures, saying that GDP had grown by 0.2 percent rather than 0.1 percent, and confirmed an annual growth rate of 0.6 percent in 2019.
However, that remains Germany’s worst annual performance since 2013.
The latest stagnation comes after previous figures showed industrial production had receded by 1.9 percent in the same period.
Both state and household consumer spending had “lost significant momentum after a strong third quarter”, statisticians said.
Yet amid fears that the spread of the novel coronavirus could lead to economic complications in early 2020, some experts claimed that stagnation could be seen as a success.
“The overall economic stagnation in the fourth quarter is already a small success,” said Dr. Fritzi Koehler-Geib, chief economist at KfW banking group, adding that Germany would have to wait until spring to see signs of recovery.
“At least for the first quarter, there are signs of a noticeable slowdown in the Chinese, and thus also the global economy as a consequence of the coronavirus.”
Others warned that the figures spelt trouble ahead in 2020.
“The outlook for 2020 is anything but good...Germany needs a new model for growth,” said Jens-Oliver Niklasch, an economist at LBBW bank.
He added that the revising up of third quarter figures was “scant consolation”.
Trade conflicts, political upsets such as Brexit, slowing global growth and a near-unprecedented rate of change in the car industry have all weighed on Germany’s manufacturing backbone in recent years.
There are now growing fears that the spread of the novel coronavirus could have adverse knock-on effects on the German economy.
The country narrowly avoided a technical recession in the third quarter last year after the economy shrank in April-June.