Germany’s gross domestic product grew 1.7 percent in 2015, its fastest growth since 2011, according to preliminary data released by the country’s Federal Statistical Office. Growth was driven mainly by a rise in domestic consumption, the department said.
Imports were up 5.7 percent for the year, growing faster than exports at 5.4 percent, the data showed. Household consumption expenditure increased by 1.9 percent, compared to 0.9 percent in 2014, and government consumption expenditure went up by 2.8 percent, compared to 1.7 percent the year before.
“Germany performed well, with growth exceeding potential, but the economy also had sublime help from a weak euro, declining energy prices and record-low interest rates,” Andreas Scheuerle, an economist at Dekabank in Frankfurt, told Bloomberg. Sounding a note of caution, he added: “We still have to deal with an incredibly rough patch globally. China plays a role, but also other emerging markets.”
The increase in domestic spending was a result of historically low unemployment rates, higher wages and cheap oil prices. According to provisional figures, employment in 2015 was up by 0.8 percent, compared to 2014.
On the production side of the economy, industry (except construction) showed a growth of 2.2 percent while construction fell by 0.2 percent. The services sector also expanded by 2.2 percent, while financial and insurance services shrunk by 1 percent. The gross value for all economic sectors rose 1.6 percent during 2015.
Calling concerns about China slightly overblown, Andreas Rees, chief German economist at UniCredit Bank AG in Frankfurt, told Bloomberg: “It will have a damping effect on exports but it will not challenge the outlook for the recovery. And higher demand from elsewhere, chiefly the U.S. and the eurozone, will offset this decline.”
According to IMF estimates in its World Economic Outlook, announced in October, global GDP was forecast to grow at 3.1 percent in 2015, compared to 3.4 percent in 2014.