Higher household and government spending enabled Germany, Europe's biggest economy, to avoid a recession in the third quarter, official data showed today.

Increased exports also provided a boost, while falling investment acted as a drag on recovery, the federal statistics office Destatis said in a statement. 

Confirming a preliminary estimate released earlier this month, the statisticians calculated that gross domestic product (GDP) expanded by 0.1% in the three months from July to September. 

In the preceding three months, the economy had shrunk by 0.1%.

Recession is technically defined as two consecutive quarters of falling GDP. 

Providing a detailed breakdown of the different GDP components, Destatis said that "in the third quarter, positive impulses came primarily from private consumer spending, which increased by 0.7%. Government spending was also higher, rising by 0.6%." 

In addition, exports were 1.9% higher than in the second quarter, climbing faster than imports, so that net foreign trade "made a slightly positive contribution to growth," Destatis said. 

By contrast, investment declined, primarily in machinery and equipment, but also in construction, it added.