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German economic growth picks up speed, outpaces U.S.

Europe’s biggest economy expanded sharply in the first quarter of 2017, according to Germany’s Federal Statistics Office (Destatis). Growth was led by a revival in global trade and buoyant construction activity.

Statistics show the economy grew by 0.6 percent from the quarter before when it expanded 0.4 percent. It’s the strongest quarterly growth rate since the first quarter of 2016 when the economy grew 0.7 percent.

Destatis said investment in buildings and equipment grew strongly, while households and the government increased their spending slightly at the beginning of the year.

“In addition, the development of foreign trade was more dynamic and contributed to growth as exports increased more than imports, according to provisional results,” the office said.

The figures show the German economy outpaced the US, the UK, and France, which recorded lower growth rates. America’s quarterly growth rate was below 0.2 percent in the first quarter of the year, while the UK and France both grew by 0.3 percent.

“A boom without end in Germany… and despite all the risks,” Bankhaus Lampe analyst Alexander Krueger told Reuters.

“However, it should be noted that the economy would be humming less without the support of interest rates, which are too low for Germany,” he added.

Economists forecast German economy to maintain robust growth, despite global geopolitical and economic uncertainties.

On Thursday, the European Commission said it expected the German economy to grow by 1.6 percent this year and 1.9 percent in 2018.