GROWING AGAIN: German industrial production returned to growth in January after slowing sharply the previous month, raising hopes that Europe's biggest economy can avoid slipping into recession.

BETTER THAN EXPECTED: Production was up 1.6 percent in January compared with the previous month, a stronger increase than economists forecast.

LEADING THE PACK: Over the past two years, Germany has outperformed debt-troubled countries elsewhere in the 17-nation eurozone, growing by a strong 3 percent overall in 2011. The government expects more modest growth of 0.7 percent this year.