German industrial production beats forecasts for October

Business

One of the world’s largest Christmas candles shines in the city of Schlitz, central Germany, Sunday, Dec.6, 2020. The candle consists of a historic stone tower wrapped in red cloth, with 110 light bulbs mounted at its tip to form a six-metre high “flame”. This brings the candle to a total height of 42 metres. (AP Photo/Michael Probst)

BERLIN (AP) — Industrial production in Germany, Europe’s biggest economy, was up 3.2% in October compared with the previous month, according to official data released Monday. It was the second set of figures for October to beat economists’ expectations.

The sixth consecutive monthly rise in production was fueled in part by a large increase in the important auto sector, the Economy Ministry said. It followed gains of 0.5% in August and 2.3% in September. Economists had expected a 1.6% gain.

On Friday, official data showed that factory orders rose 2.9% in October, nearly double what economists had predicted, as demand for investment goods such as factory machinery rose.

The figures point at least to a promising start to the fourth quarter. However, sharp rises in coronavirus infections led to partial shutdowns in Germany and elsewhere in Europe in November.

In Germany, restaurants, bars, sports and leisure facilities have been closed since Nov. 2, while schools and nonessential shops have remained open. Those measures, which are milder than those taken in the first phase of the pandemic, are expected to remain in place until at least Jan. 10.

“Industrial production should be the bright spot of the economy in the fourth quarter but given the negative impact from the latest lockdown measures on sentiment, services and consumption, this positive industrial momentum should in our view not be enough to avoid a double dip for the German economy,” ING economist Carsten Brezski wrote in a research note.

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