German, French Growth Creeps Above Forecasts In Last Months Of 2013


Economic growth in Germany and France, the euro zone's two largest economies, marginally exceeded expectations in the fourth quarter and offered hope of a more robust 2014.

The euro zone number is due at 5000 AM (1000 GMT) and forecast to show quarterly growth of 0.

2 percent.
Given the performance of its biggest constituent parts, that could be exceeded.

German growth accelerated to 0.
4 percent on the quarter thanks to a rise in exports and capital investment, up from 0.

3 percent in the previous three months.
The French economy expanded by 0.
3 percent and statistics office INSEE revised up the third quarter figure to flat from -0.

1 percent.
That meant France grew 0.
3 percent over the course of last year, more than the government's estimate of 0.

1 percent.
Italy, now awaiting a new prime minister with Enrico Letta due to resign today having been forced out by his own Democratic Party, dragged itself back to growth for the first time since mid-2011.

Its economy expanded marginally by 0.
1 percent.
Over the whole of 2013, GDP contracted by 1.
9 percent, the ISTAT statistics office said.
Italy has been one of the world's most sluggish economies for more than a decade.

Growth has averaged less than zero over the last 12 years.

In 2014, the government forecasts growth of 1.
1 percent.
The German Statistics Office saw "mixed signals" from the domestic economy, which has driven growth throughout most of the year, with public expenditure stable and private consumption slightly below the level of the previous quarter.

"Capital investment developed positively," the Statistics Office said.

"However, a strong reduction in inventories put the brakes on economic growth.

" The German Economy Ministry said on Wednesday it expected gross domestic product (GDP) growth of 1.

8 percent in 2014 - more than four times faster than in 2013 as a whole.

"The rise in capital investment is very positive and signals that the German economy is starting the new year well," said Johannes Mayr, an economist at Bayern LB.