Strong exports, state spending and consumers helped the German economy avoid a recession in the third quarter, detailed data showed today, confirming a preliminary reading of a 0.1% expansion on the quarter. 

The Federal Statistics Office said exports grew 1% in the quarter and net trade contributed 0.5 percentage points to the overall economic expansion. 

Europe's biggest economy is going through a soft patch as its export-oriented manufacturers cope with trade friction, a struggling car industry and uncertainties over Britain's planned departure from the European Union.

Conservative Chancellor Angela Merkel's right-left coalition government has rejected calls from industry groups and economists for a stimulus package to put the economy firmly back on a growth trajectory.

In its 10th successive year of growth, the economy has been relying on strong consumption as exports weaken, which resulted in a second quarter GDP contraction of 0.2%.

Today's data showed that private consumption grew 0.4% and state spending by 0.8%, which translated into each segment contributing 0.2 percentage points to growth.

Acting on the programme agreed between Merkel's conservatives and their Social Democrat coalition partners, the government has increased allowances for families, students and pensioners. 

This comes in addition to tax cuts and more spending on infrastructure. 

Economists have been urging the government to ditch its policy of incurring no new net debt, saying it should instead borrow to finance a stimulus package.  

The government seems to be betting on an easing of trade frictions between the US and both China and the EU to revive Germany's manufacturing sector. 

The data today showed that despite growth in exports, investment in fixed assets and equipment had contracted in the third quarter, a sign that companies still have a negative outlook.

In addition to trade conflicts and a slowing global economy, German carmakers are also burdened by a costly shift to electric vehicles and stricter emissions rules. 

There have been signs that the slowdown in manufacturing is spreading to the services sector. 

IHS Markit's PMI surveys today showed that activity in the sector has fallen to a 38-month low in November.