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Traders work at the stock exchange in Frankfurt/AFP

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German finance ministry sees growth slowing in 4th quarter

Traders work at the stock exchange in Frankfurt/AFP

FRANKFURT, Oct 22 – The German economy, Europe’s biggest, will see a sharp slowdown in growth at the end of the year, the finance ministry wrote in its monthly report published Monday.

Germany has so far held up to Europe’s long-running sovereign debt crisis much better than its eurozone neighbours.

While many eurozone countries slipped into recession, Germany notched up growth of 0.5 percent in the first quarter and 0.3 percent in the second quarter.

“In the third quarter, too, the economy is likely to have expanded again,” the ministry said, without providing any concrete forecast.

Industrial output grew in the months of July and August, providing unexpectedly strong impulses for overall growth.

“Nevertheless, in the final quarter of 2012, growth is likely to slow substantially as economic weakness in a number of eurozone countries puts the brakes on growth,” the ministry predicted.

Such an interpretation was backed up by the drop in investor sentiment, as seen in the fifth consecutive monthly decrease in the ZEW’s monthly confidence index, it said.

Last week, the German government fractionally upgraded its growth forecast for the current year to 0.8 percent, but slashed its prognosis for next year to just 1.0 percent.

Germany’s economic performance in the first six months of this year had turned out better than thought, said Economy Minister Philipp Roesler when presenting the forecasts.

“But with the European sovereign debt crisis and the economic weakening in developing countries in Asia and Latin America, Germany is in stormy economic waters,” he said.

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