The German economy expanded at a much faster than anticipated pace in the first quarter of 2012, as exports to emerging markets offset dwindling demand from the debt-strapped euro area.
Germany, the euro area's biggest economy, returned to growth in the January to March quarter, with Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growing at a seasonally adjusted rate of 0.5% compared to the fourth-quarter of 2011.
Economists had predicted a rise of 0.1%.
Compared with the first-quarter of 2011, the German economy rose 1.7%, the Federal Statistics Office reported today.
German GDP had declined 0.2% in the fourth quarter of 2011 from the third quarter, its first drop since 2009.
Exports and domestic consumption inched higher in the first quarter compared with the fourth quarter, the agency said. These factors partly offset a decline in capital formation, the statistics office said.
Separately, France's economy came to a standstill in the first quarter of 2011 against the fourth quarter of last year, according to the National Institute of Statistics & Economic Studies, or Insee.
French GDP remained unchanged during the January to March quarter.
The French economy had grown by 0.1% in the fourth quarter of 2011.
Italy's GDP contracts for 3rd straight quarter