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German economy shrank less in Q4 than reported: Official data

BERLIN (AFP) – Germany’s economy shrank at a smaller rate in the fourth quarter of last year than originally thought, despite the blows levelled by supply chain woes and the pandemic, official data showed yesterday.

Gross domestic product in Europe’s top economy slipped 0.3 per cent in the last three months of 2021 compared to the previous quarter, the federal statistics office Destatis said.

Destatis had in January reported a drop of 0.7 per cent in the quarter-on-quarter comparison.

Fourth-quarter growth came in 1.8 per cent higher than the previous year.

A lack of raw materials and components hammered industry, particularly the automotive sector which saw a 10.1 per cent drop in sales in 2021, as a lack of semiconductor chips temporarily shuttered many factories.

A surge in energy prices, notably for gas and petrol, also weighed on manufacturing.

Meanwhile government restrictions to blunt the fourth wave of the coronavirus outbreak muted demand for services and at retail outlets.

Germany plans to lift most of its pandemic rules in March, which economists expect will help first-quarter growth to recover, but perhaps not enough to avert a technical recession, the Bundesbank central bank said this week. A recession is defined as two consecutive quarters of economic contraction.