Western Germany's gross national product grew 4.6 percent in 1990, its strongest growth in 14 years, largely as a result of German unification, the Federal Statistics Office said Friday.

The year 1990 was an "excellent year" for economic growth, employment opportunities, price stability and external surplus in western Germany, Statistics President Egon Hoelder said."Considering declining world economic developments, additional impulses given by reunification came at the right moment," Hoelder said.

The report did not include figures for eastern Germany, where steep economic decline has driven up unemployment and prices.

Western Germany's 4.6 percent economic growth in real terms was the strongest since 1976, when it jumped 5.6 percent following a short recession in the early 1970s caused by the oil crisis, he said. In 1989, former West Germany's GNP grew 3.9 percent in real terms.

The statistics report estimated the unification process between West Germany and former communist East Germany, which was completed on Oct. 3, boosted last year's growth by 1.5 percent.

The merger of the two countries led to higher consumer demand in eastern Germany

Private consumption grew 4.4 percent and national consumption grew by 2.9 percent after a growth rate of 0.9 percent the previous year.

"There is no question that this positive growth development in the old federal states (West Germany) stands opposite to the negative development in the new states (East Germany)," said government spokesman Dieter Vogel.

"All signs indicate that these tendencies will continue in 1991 and they will worsen when the new states will hit rock bottom by the middle of this year before they will stabilize," Vogel said.