That marks the first decline in Germany’s quarterly GDP since the first three months of 2015, when it fell by an annualized rate of 0.5%, and is well below the 3.5% rate registered in the U.S. during the third quarter. But economists said that Europe’s economic powerhouse isn’t in danger of slipping into a recession any time soon. Newsletter Sign-up “There is no reason to become panicky,” said Andreas Rees, an economist at UniCredit. “The latest weakness can be explained by a curious coincidence of special circumstances.” Economists said that bottlenecks in the approval of passenger cars in the wake of a new emissions-testing protocol hit automotive production. Exceptionally low Rhine water levels—the river is a major transportation route for oil and other goods—depressed activity further. “In the fourth quarter, the German economy will grow again simply because car manufacturers are likely to gradually ramp up their production again,” […]