Strong exports and solid construction activity helped the German economy to grow by a stronger than expected 0.3% in the final quarter of last year, the Federal Statistics Office said today, revising an earlier estimate. 

The office previously had reported a 0.1% expansion on the quarter from October to December.

It also revised upward its 2020 full-year GDP figure for Europe's largest economy to a fall of 4.9% from 5%. 

Adjusted for calendar effects, the economy last year shrank by 5.3%, which was a much smaller contraction than many other European countries recorded, mainly due to a strong fiscal response of Chancellor Angela Merkel's government to the Covid-19 pandemic. 

The debt-financed fiscal splurge created an overall state budget deficit of €139.6 billion or 4.2% of gross domestic product in 2020, the office said. 

This was the first deficit since 2011 and the second-highest since German reunification.