German industrial production rebounds in November


Industrial production in Europe’s top economy Germany regained some ground in November after two months of slippage, official data showed on Thursday, but exports from Europe’s powerhouse fell back, reports BSS/AFP.

Producer firms reported 1.1 percent month-on-month growth in output, statistics authority Destatis said in seasonally-adjusted figures. Meanwhile the statisticians also revised October’s production figure, calculating a fall of 1.0 percent rather than 1.7 percent as previously reported. Looking to different areas of industry in November, only producer goods firms’ output slowed, while consumer goods makers added 0.5 percent and capital goods firms 2.4 percent.

But the economy ministry in Berlin cautioned against over-optimism in a statement. In a two-month comparison of October-November to August-September, production fell 0.7 percent, it noted. “Weak economic performance in industry has not yet been overcome,” the ministry said, although, “stabilisation in new orders and improved expectations point to some brightening in the coming months.”

The challenge facing German industry was clear from trade data also released by Destatis Thursday, showing the country’s trade surplus — the difference between its imports and exports — at 18.3 billion euros ($20.3 billion) in November, down almost two billion euros on a year before.

Many manufacturers in the country depend on selling products abroad for a large share of their revenue. But US-led trade wars and confidence weakened by other political developments like Brexit undermined demand over much of 2018 and 2019.

November saw exports fall 2.3 percent month-on-month, to just under 113 billion euros, while imports retreated just 0.5 percent to 94.6 billion. Sales to Germany’s neighbours in the European Union and eurozone single currency area, as well as the rest of the world, all fell back.

Looking ahead, “2020 could well be a difficult year for economic performance in Germany,” said economist Jens-Oliver Niklasch of LBBW bank.