BERLIN: The German economy, Europe’s largest, grew by 1.9 percent in 2016 powered by private consumption and state spending on refugees, the federal statistics office Destatis said Thursday in a preliminary estimate.
The estimate beats last year’s growth figure of 1.7 percent 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-percent growth in private consumption and a 4.2 percent 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 percent as imports increased 3.4 percent.
Overall growth overshot the 1.8-percent 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 percent.
Destatis noted that 2016 saw growth 0.5 percent 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 percent of gross domestic product (GDP).
In absolute terms, German GDP increased to more than 3.1 trillion euros—consolidating its position above the 3.0 trillion threshold breached for the first time in 2015.