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In Germany the upswing of the past two years has been checked for the time being: after getting off to a solid start, growth declined appreciably from the spring onwards. The Federal Statistical Office calculated a rise of 0.7% in GDP for the full year in 2012. Despite a challenging economic environment, the German economy thus at least remained on an expansionary course. The contraction in growth resulted primarily from the European debt crisis. To some extent the rise in exports to other regions offset the softer demand from European markets. Overall, however, the increase in exports slowed, as did growth rates for imports. Once again, foreign trade was a major driver of GDP growth in 2012.

In view of the difficult economic climate German businesses took a cautious approach to their capital expenditure, cutting spending on machinery and equipment and holding back on inventory investments. The labour market trend in Germany softened slightly as the year progressed in tandem with the economic trend, although it remained positive. The Federal Statistical Office calculated that the size of the working population with jobs in Germany increased by 422,000 in 2012 compared to the previous year.


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