Germany saw its annual growth fall close to recession levels in 2022, according to data published by the federal statistics agency Destatis on Friday.
The rate of growth in 2022, measured in gross domestic product (GDP), reached 1.9%, down from the 2.6% recorded in 2021.
However, the worst fears of a painful recession have been tempered by a slight, but unexpected, growth of 0.4% in the third quarter of 2022. Figures on the development for Germany's GDP in the last quarter of the year will be published later this month.
High energy prices have been blamed for the weak performance with the Russian invasion of Ukraine seen as one of the main underlying factors.
Better performance than expected
"In 2022, the overall economic situation in Germany was affected by the consequences of the war in Ukraine and the extremely high energy price increases," said Destatis president Ruth Brand at a press conference on Friday.
"Although these difficult conditions persist, the German economy as a whole managed to perform well in 2022," she added.
The government in Berlin had forecast in October that GDP would shrink to a meager 0.4% for the whole year.
This came amid soaring inflation and a desperate scramble to secure energy supplies as Germany weaned itself off Russian fossil fuels.
But the surprisingly successful efforts to stock gas, paired with an unusually warm winter period, and a substantial €200 billion ($216 billion) support package have softened the blow.
Inflation in Germany also came down slightly in December, sparking hopes that the runaway surge in living costs that dominated much of the year may be coming back under control.
"The German economy was or is more resilient than was maybe feared in the autumn," Jan-Christopher Scherer, economist at the DIW think tank in Berlin, told AFP news agency.
"There will not be a deep recession," he added, DW reports.
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