URGENT ¥¥¥ German economy contracts by 0.6% in 4Q: official data

The German economy, Europe's biggest, contracted by 0.6 percent in the last quarter of 2012, a slightly steeper decline than originally anticipated, the national statistics office Destatis said Thursday.

Economic growth in Germany slowed throughout last year as the eurozone debt crisis put the brake on exports. With the contraction in the fourth quarter, the German economy expanded by just 0.7 percent across the whole of 2012, compared with 3.0 percent in 2011, Destatis said in a statement.