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German economy grew in 2017 at fastest pace in 6 years

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Berlin, Jan 11 (AP) - The German economy accelerated last year to grow by 2.2 percent, putting in its strongest performance for six years thanks primarily to increasing demand at home, official data showed Thursday.
The figure released by the Federal Statistical Office was the strongest since 2011, when Europe's biggest econ-omy grew by 3.7 percent. Gross domestic product expanded by 1.9 percent in 2016 and 1.7 percent in 2015.
Household spending by Germans was up 2 percent last year, while investment in machinery and other equip-ment was up 3.5 percent.
Exports - a traditional strength of the German economy - grew by 4.7 percent, a much stronger performance than the previous year's 2.6 percent. But they were outpaced by imports, which expanded by 5.2 percent, up from 3.9 percent in 2016. Overall, foreign trade contributed 0.2 percentage points to last year's GDP growth.
Eight consecutive years of growth have also helped Germany's public finances. Germany had its fourth budget surplus in a row last year, totaling 1.2 percent of GDP, according to Thursday's report. That was up from 0.8 percent the previous year as growth in the state's income outpaced increased spending.
The statistics office offered a rough estimate that the economy grew by more than a half-percent in the fourth quarter compared with the previous three-month period. However, it won't release an official figure until mid-February, after data for December become available.