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News Summary: German economy shrank in 4Q

The Associated Press

GERMANY'S FUNK: German is the financial powerhouse of Europe, but the widespread recession on the continent took the wind out of its sales in the final quarter of the year as exports fell.

THE NUMBERS: The economy shrank by a larger-than-expected 0.6 percent in the final quarter in 2012, worse than the 0.4 to 0.5 percent decline being predicted by most economists. It was Germany's worst performance since early 2009 when the globe was reeling from a banking crisis.

SPREADING THE PAIN: Germany relies heavily on exports to other European countries. As economic troubles grow in Spain, Italy and even France and Britain, demand for Germany's high-value industrial goods declined. There are fears that the contraction in German could be echoed later in the U.S. and elsewhere if Europe's economy continues to flag.