Cautious consumers contribute to fastest period of growth

Germany's fastest period of economic growth since the country was reunified two decades ago has been fuelled in the main by the country's vast manufacturing sector.

German industry suffered badly last year but as the euro has weakened, the country's exports have grown at a rapidly increasing rate.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

The success of Germany's industry contrasts starkly with the UK's economic model – where more than three-quarters of the labour force works in the service sector and industry accounts for only 12.4 per cent of GDP. In Germany, the figure is almost 22 per cent.

But exports have not been the only driver for Germany this year – its traditionally cautious consumers appear to have been spending more freely in the high streets during 2010 – a factor that seems to have surprised some analysts.