UPDATE 1-German economy expands for fourth straight quarter

* GDP +0.2 pct q/q, above forecast for unchanged reading

* Exports, equipment offset weaker consumption,
(Adds background, details)

BERLIN, May 12 (BestGrowthStock) – German gross domestic product
unexpectedly grew in January-March, making it the fourth
consecutive quarter of expansion in Europe’s largest economy,
the Federal Statistics Office said on Monday.

Preliminary data showed GDP grew 0.2 percent
quarter-on-quarter, beating a consensus forecast for an
unchanged reading (ECONDE: ), as firmer equipment investment and
exports outweighed weaker construction and private consumption.

Fourth-quarter growth was revised upwards to also show
growth of 0.2 percent, after being previously reported as flat.

“Despite the harsh winter, the German economy has surprised
us by growing. In that sense it’s performing much better than
the euro zone,” said economist Joerg Kraemer at Commerzbank.

“Now that the 750 billion euro emergency aid package has
prevented the sort of shock we had after Lehman Brothers went
bust, the German economy should continue outperforming the rest
of the euro zone in coming months with its strong export base,
Kraemer said.

The $1 trillion rescue package, cobbled together by the
European Union and IMF over the weekend, is aimed at preventing
Greece’s debt crisis from spreading to other weak euro zone
members, which could derail regional economic growth and
possibly spark another global credit crunch.

“If you’re going to buy European shares, then go for German
ones,” Kraemer added.

Foreign trade is expected to play a major role in the
recovery in Germany, which was the world’s biggest exporter of
goods from 2003 to 2008, before being overtaken by China.

Data this Monday showed that German exports surged at their
fastest rate in nearly 18 years in March, surpassing even the
most optimistic forecast. [ID:nLDE6490EC]

Year-on-year, the economy grew by 1.7 percent in the first
quarter, the data showed on Wednesday, surpassing the Reuters
consensus forecast for 1.2 percent expansion. This followed a
1.5 percent drop in the October-December period.

Germany exited its deepest post-war recession in the second
quarter of last year but the recovery slowed in the winter as
harsh weather disrupted business activity.

Recent economic indicators have beaten forecasts, however,
and pointed to the recovery picking up again. Data last week
showed industrial output and orders surging in March.
[ID:nLDE646169] [ID:nLDE6451CH]

Stock Market Advice
(Reporting by Sarah Marsh and Dave Graham; Editing by Kim

UPDATE 1-German economy expands for fourth straight quarter