BERLIN: Germany's economy, Europe's largest, grew 0.2 percent in the first quarter of 2010 as a global recovery boosted demand for its high-value exports, the Federal Statistics Office said Wednesday.
The Wiesbaden agency said gross domestic product was also helped by a 0.3 percent drop in unemployment as the country's emergence from recession strengthened.
According to preliminary figures, GDP was up 1.7 percent in the January to March period of 2010 when compared to the first quarter of 2009.
The agency also revised upward its preliminary estimate of GDP in the fourth quarter of 2009, to growth of 0.2 percent. Its preliminary estimate in February indicated the economy had not grown at all during the quarter.
"Although the upward trend for the German economy in the second and third quarter of 2009 slightly slowed down, it continued despite the relatively cold and long winter," the agency said the revised figures showed.
Overall, however, the latest calculations showed GDP decreased by 4.9 percent in 2009 compared with the previous year.
Germany went into recession in 2008 as demand for its exports dried up amid the global economic crisis.
After shrinking for four straight quarters, including a 3.5 percent slump in the first quarter of 2009, the country technically emerged from recession with growth in the second quarter of 2009. That, in part, helped the 16-nation eurozone to improve economically.
Germany lost its status as the world's biggest exporter to China last year, but exports have been recovering in recent months as the global economy recovers.
Earlier this month, the government reported that German exports jumped by 10.7 percent on the month in March and nearly a quarter on the year.
German exports totaled euro85.6 billion ($109.3 billion) in March, the Federal Statistical Office said. In year-on-year terms, that was a 23.3 percent increase.
The government statistics office plans to issue more detailed GDP results on the first quarter of 2010 on May 21.