UPDATE 1-German exports rise unexpectedly in August

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BERLIN, Oct 8 (Reuters) - German exports rose unexpectedly in August, underscoring the continued resilience of Europe's largest and traditionally export-oriented economy despite the euro zone crisis and suggesting a third quarter slowdown may be moderate.

Seasonally adjusted exports jumped 2.4 percent month-on-month, far outperforming expectations for a drop of 0.5 percent and beating even the highest forecast in a Reuters poll of 17 economists for a 0.5 percent rise.

"It is incredible how German exports are winning in such a tough environment," said Andreas Scheuerle at DekaBank.

"The strongest areas of growth recently came from Asia and Europe outside the euro zone. The data should influence Germany's economic output positively in the third quarter."

Germany's economy quickly bounced back from the global financial crisis in 2008/9 and for a long time seemed impervious to the euro zone's troubles but growth slowed to 0.3 percent in the second quarter from 0.5 percent in the first as firms held back on investments due to uncertainty in the 17-nation bloc.

Many economists now predict a German contraction in the third and possibly fourth quarters, though they said Monday's foreign trade data would help cushion the slowdown in the third quarter.

Imports inched up a mere 0.3 percent, raising questions about the level of domestic demand in Germany, which many economists had expected would prop up growth during the euro zone crisis and a global economic slowdown.

But the figures chime with data last week which showed industrial orders dropped in August as a slide in domestic demand outweighed an improvement in euro zone contracts.

The seasonally-adjusted trade surplus widened to 18.3 billion euros from an upwardly revised 16.3 billion euros in July. The consensus forecast was for it to narrow to 15.3 billion euros.

(Reporting By Michelle Martin and Stephen Brown, editing by Gareth Jones)

((sarah.marsh@thomsonreuters.com)(+ 49 30 2888 5226))