German economy grew 0.3% in 4th quarter, better than thought

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Berlin, Feb.24 (BNA): The German economy grew 0.3% in last year’s fourth quarter compared with the previous three-month period, official data showed Wednesday — a better performance than first thought.


The Federal Statistical Office had reported in late January that gross domestic product edged up 0.1% in the October-December period, said an AP report.


Wednesday’s revision meant that last year’s overall drop in GDP was a touch less sharp than originally reported — 4.9% rather than 5%. That fall ended a decade of growth and was the biggest decline since the financial crisis in 2009.


Germany’s economy did better than several others in the 19-country eurozone as it was supported by manufacturing, which has taken less of a hit than services during the pandemic.


Still, the coronavirus pandemic has hit Germany’s finances. After years in the black, the government resorted to running up new debt to help cover the cost of huge support packages for workers and an expected shortfall in tax revenue.


The statistics office said Germany had a budget deficit last year of 4.2% of GDP — higher than the 3% normally allowed under eurozone rules.


Germany has seen its infection rate decline significantly over the past two months, but the progress appears to have stalled in recent days amid concerns about the impact of more contagious virus variants. The country has seen over 68,000 confirmed virus deaths since the pandemic began.