The economy ministry says in its autumn forecast that German gross domestic product will expand 0.5 per cent this year and 1.7 per cent in 2014.
Source
AAP
24 Oct 2013 - 2:40 AM  UPDATED 24 Oct 2013 - 2:42 AM

Germany says its robust economy will fuel record employment this year and next, as well as boost consumer spending and industrial investment.

The economy ministry says in its autumn forecast that gross domestic product will expand 0.5 per cent this year and 1.7 per cent in 2014, confirming reports from sources on Tuesday and underlining the rude health of Europe's top economic power.

The unemployment rate is set to hit 6.9 per cent this year and fall to 6.8 per cent in 2014 - far below the 12 per cent reported by the crisis-hit eurozone, the report said.

"The German economy is again on a stable course for growth," outgoing Economy Minister Philipp Roesler told reporters.

"The foundations of this growth are economic forces at home: the mood of German companies is good, they are again investing more in equipment and construction. Employment and income are growing significantly and bolstering private consumption."

He added that economic momentum will speed up sharply next year.

The report says the German economy will add 235,000 jobs this year and another 180,000 next year.

Disposable income for German households is due to jump 2.1 per cent this year and 2.9 per cent in 2014, which Roesler says is expected to spur consumer spending.

The ministry says the global economy remains "fragile" and that demand in key markets for exports, long the backbone of the German economy, was "muted" but improving.

German exports were thus expected to grow by 0.3 per cent this year, but jump by 3.8 per cent next year.

Imports are seen as rising 1.1 per cent in 2013 and 4.5 per cent in 2014 as the recovery gathers pace.

Roesler is due to be replaced following a general election last month that saw his Free Democrats ousted from parliament for the first time since their founding after World War II.

Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservative Christian Democrats joined the second biggest German party, the Social Democrats, for the formal start of coalition negotiations on Wednesday, which they hope to wrap up by Christmas.

Affected by the debt and recession troubles of southern eurozone members, the export-led German economy saw growth slow to 0.7 per cent last year, and the recovery was hampered by an unusually harsh and long winter in 2012-13.

The latest forecast brings the government almost in line with a more optimistic prediction of 1.8 per cent GDP growth next year, issued last week by four leading economic institutes.

The International Monetary Fund has pencilled in German economic growth of 1.4 per cent in 2014 after 0.5 per cent in 2013.