The German economy, Europe’s largest, officially moved out of recession in the first quarter of this year.

According to the Federal Statistics Office, the economy expanded 0.2% in the period, following a 0.3% decline in the final three months of 2001 and a 0.2% drop in last year’s third quarter.

The figures are expected to herald further expansion. “The basis for a tension-free economic growth this year is favourable,” the FSO declared.

One man praying particularly hard for an upturn is German chancellor Gerhard Schröder, who stands for re-election in November. He hailed the news as a sign that unemployment would fall.

However, the report also revealed that manufacturing investment and consumer spend “clearly declined” during the period, while GDP fell 1.2% from its level twelve months before.

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