Gingerbread cookies are wrapped by employees at the Bahlsen plant in Berlin on August 28, 2015.
According to Destatis, the Federal Statistical Office, the German economy grew by 0.6% in 2019. This means a sharp slump in growth and the weakest expansion since 2013.
The expansion of gross domestic product (GDP) corresponded to the forecasts of the economists surveyed by Reuters. The gross domestic product (GDP) for the full year 2019 shows a slowdown compared to the growth of 1.5% in 2018 and the growth of the German economy of 2.2% in 2017.
"The German economy has grown for the tenth year in a row. This was the longest growth period in unified Germany. However, growth lost momentum in 2019," said Destatis. "The growth in 2019 was mainly supported by consumer spending," it said. "German exports continued to grow on average in 2019, albeit more slowly than in previous years."
Destatis said economic output rose in the service sector, but declined significantly in industry. The slowdown in economic growth is part of a trend observed in the country in recent years and has been exacerbated by the global trade tensions that have hit exports of goods and on which it relies for much of its economic strength. The domestic auto industry was also under pressure as car sales slowed and greener vehicles began to be manufactured.
2019 was a particularly difficult year for Europe's largest economy, which has traditionally been seen as a driving force for growth in the euro area.
The country narrowly avoided going into recession – defined as two consecutive quarters of declining growth – and the latest GDP figures released in November showed very low growth of 0.1% in the third quarter after a decline of 0.2 % in the previous quarter.
The latest growth data should lead to the Federal Government increasingly calling for increased public spending to stimulate the economy.
Opponents of the coalition government led by Chancellor Angela Merkel accuse her of being obsessed with the so-called "black zero" policy, maintaining a balanced budget and not incurring new debts. Even Merkel's ally, French President Emmanuel Macron, accused Germany of a "household fetish" last year.