German gross domestic product contracted 0.2 percent in the fourth quarter, a slowdown from an upwardly revised 0.6 percent in the July-September period, as trade and private consumption weighed on growth.

Preliminary data from the Federal Statistics Office released on Wednesday also showed that growth compared to the same quarter a year earlier eased to 1.5 percent from an upwardly revised 2.6 percent in the previous quarter.

The Office said investments, particularly in construction, boosted the economy in the fourth quarter, while trade and private consumption were negative factors.

A Reuters poll of economists had forecast a 0.3 percent contraction on the quarter and 1.9 percent growth on the year.

Quarterly growth had initially been reported at 0.5 percent for the third quarter, while annual growth had earlier stood at 2.5 percent.

(Reporting By Sarah Marsh and Madeline Chambers)