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Danish economy grew more than expected in fourth quarter

COPENHAGEN (Reuters) - Denmark's economy grew slightly more than expected in the third quarter from the previous three months as exports and investment rose, fuelling hopes the country's economic crisis is in retreat.

Gross domestic product rose 0.4 percent in July-September compared with the previous quarter, the national statistics office said on Friday, and rose 0.5 percent from the same quarter a year earlier.

"Today's figures show that the Danish economy is on the right track," Danske Bank chief economist Steen Bocian said.

"We should be pleased about this improvement as it means that there is a foundation for improvement in the labour market."

The third quarter GDP improvement was driven by exports and investments which rose 0.9 percent and 3.9 percent respectively.

Denmark has struggled to boost consumer confidence since a property bubble burst in 2008, leaving many people wary of spending, while the global financial crisis has dampened demand for the country's exports.

Private consumption, which accounts for about half the Danish economy, fell 0.1 percent in the third quarter compared with the second quarter, and was up 0.3 percent against the same quarter a year earlier.

The second quarter GDP figure was unrevised at 0.6 percent quarter on quarter.

Denmark's central bank cut its forecast for 2013 economic growth to 0.3 percent in September. At the end of August, the government cut its growth forecast for the fourth time in 13 months, to 0.2 percent for 2013.

Further details in Danish are available on Statistics Denmark's website www.dst.dk.

(Reporting by Mette Fraende; Editing by Catherine Evans)