UPDATE 3-German Q2 growth surges in uneven eurozone recovery

* Q2 growth, and exports, strongest in reunified Germany

* Consumer spending grew for the first time in a year

* Investment still relatively low vs pre-crisis levels

* Economists see economy slowing in H2 but still robust

(Adds EU Commissioner Rehn)

By Paul Carrel

BERLIN, Aug 24 (BestGrowthStock) – Surging exports and a return to
growth in consumer spending powered the German economy to record
expansion in the second quarter, producing a broad-based
recovery that put Europe’s largest economy ahead of its peers.

The 2.2 percent increase in gross domestic product (GDP) was
the fastest quarterly growth rate seen in reunified Germany, the
Federal Statistics Office said on Tuesday. Consumer spending
grew over the quarter for the first time in a year.

“The recovery has reached the full breadth of the German
economy,” said Economy Minister Rainer Bruederle, who last week
described Germany as being in an “XL-upswing”.

The return to growth in private consumption suggested the
economy could keep expanding in the second half of the year even
if the expansion in exports fades, as economists widely expect.
Private consumption grew by 0.6 percent on the quarter.

“The consumer recession has come to an end,” said UniCredit
economist Alexander Koch. “We’re unlikely to see a decline in
investment or private consumption. So we still have a strong
basis for a broad-based upswing in the third quarter.”

The resumption of growth in private spending followed
criticism by some countries — including France — that Germany
has not done enough to stimulate domestic demand, from which its
peers’ exports could benefit.

France grew by just 0.6 percent in the second quarter and
last week the French government cut its 2011 growth forecast to
2 percent. [ID:nLDE67J16B]

The Greek economy contracted sharply in the April-June
period.

In New York, the European Union’s economic and monetary
affairs commissioner, Olli Rehn, said the bloc was seeing a
robust but uneven recovery. A double-dip recession in the United
States would hurt the euro zone, he added. [ID:nNLLOJE6D6]

Recent data have suggested a faltering U.S. recovery with
figures on Tuesday showing sales of previously owned homes took
a record drop in July to their lowest pace in 15 years,
suggesting further loss of momentum. [ID:nN24249810]

The DIHK Chambers of Industry and Commerce forecast
Germany’s economy would grow by 3.4 percent this year.

Foreign trade and gross capital investment both added 0.8
percentage points to gross domestic product in the second
quarter, said Statistics Office, which gave a breakdown of
quarterly growth data that it first reported on Aug. 13.

“It must be kept in mind, however, that gross capital
investment in particular is still at a relatively low level
after the double-digit falls seen at times during economic
crisis of 2008/2009,” the Statistics Office said in a statement.

Exports grew 8.2 percent from the prior quarter.
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For graphic showing breakdown of German Q2 GDP growth
http://r.reuters.com/wyq76n
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“A POSITIVE BLIP”

Germany accounts for over a quarter of economic output in
the euro zone, where industrial orders rose by 2.5 percent on
the month in June, slightly more than expected. [ID:nBRLOJE64Q]

Its second quarter expansion saw it accelerate away from
other euro zone countries, which do not enjoy its export engine.

Germany’s strong second-quarter performance led Germany’s
central bank, the Bundesbank, to raise its full-year growth
forecast for the economy to 3 percent last week from 2 percent
previously. [ID:nLDE67I1CW]

Reflecting the woes of some of Germany’s other European
peers, Martin Weale, a new Bank of England policymaker, said in
a newspaper interview on Tuesday that Britain faced some risk of
sliding back into recession. [ID:nLDE67N08F]

Nonetheless, German growth will likely slow from here.

“This tempo is probably not sustainable,” said Thilo
Heidrich at Postbank. “It was a positive blip, marked by
catch-up effects. Growth will slow down in coming quarters, but
we’re not going to dip into recession again.”

Construction, recovering after a harsh winter, added 0.5
percentage points to GDP in the April-June period.

Highlighting expectations for growth to slow a little, a
Reuters poll of 42 economists pointed to a dip in the Ifo
economic institute’s business climate index — due for release
on Wednesday — to 105.7 in August from 106.2 in July. (ECONDE: )

Germany’s economic strength has been reflected in the
performance of its leading businesses. Of the 30 companies in
the blue-chip DAX index, 23 beat market expectations with their
earnings in the quarter to end-June and 12 hiked their outlooks.
(Additional reporting by Dave Graham and Klaus Lauer, editing
by Mike Peacock)

UPDATE 3-German Q2 growth surges in uneven eurozone recovery