German gross domestic product (GDP) contracted by 0.5 percent in the third quarter, putting Europe's largest economy in recession for the first time in five years, Federal Statistics Office figures showed on Thursday.
The Office also revised up the second-quarter GDP figure to show a contraction of 0.4 percent, compared with 0.5 percent previously reported. The last time the economy shrank for two quarters was in the first half of 2003, the Office said.
The mid-range forecast of 40 economists polled by Reuters last week was for a quarterly contraction of 0.2 percent in the third quarter.
"A negative effect on gross domestic product came from foreign trade, with a strong increase in imports and weakening exports," the Office said.
On the year, German GDP increased by 1.3 percent in the third quarter after annual growth of 3.3 percent in the April-June period, the figures showed.
Adjusted for working days, GDP expanded by 0.8 percent on the year. There was one more working day in the third quarter of 2008 than in the same period in 2007.
The Office is due to publish a breakdown of the third-quarter GDP figures on Nov. 25.