The German economy is on the edge of recession after shrinking in the first quarter.

Hit by weak exports, Europe’s biggest economy dipped by 0.2% in the first three months of 2003, according to the Federal Statistics Office. Economists had been expecting growth of 0.1%.

A recession is usually defined as two consecutive quarters of contraction. In the fourth quarter of 2002, Germany registered flat growth.

However, the economy is up in year-on-year terms, rising 0.5% from Q1 2002.

Data sourced from: BBC Online Business News (UK); additional content by WARC staff