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Eurozone hurt as Germany falters

BERLIN — It was only a matter of time. With many of its debt-ridden euro partners in recession, Germany could only swim against the tide for so long.

Figures Thursday showed output in Germany, Europe’s largest economy, contracted by more than anticipated in the last three months of 2012. And it was the German drop that lay behind a deepening of the recession across the economy of the 17 European Union countries that use the euro.

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Eurostat, the EU’s statistics office, said the eurozone’s economic output shrank by 0.6 percent in the final quarter of 2012 from the previous three-month period. The decline was bigger than the 0.4 percent drop expected in markets and the steepest fall since 2009, when the global economy was in its deepest recession since World War II.

There are hopes, though, that the fourth quarter of 2012 will mark the low point for the eurozone, and Germany in particular.

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