German industrial orders soar above expectations: ministry

6th December 2011, Comments 0 comments

Industrial orders in Germany rose sharply in October, official data showed on Tuesday, raising hopes that Europe's top economy is standing up to the ongoing turmoil in the eurozone.

Orders were up by 5.2 percent in October, following a decline of 4.6 percent in the previous month, the economy ministry said, smashing the expectations of analysts surveyed by Dow Jones Newswires, who forecast a gain of 0.8 percent.

However, in a sign that the crisis might be having an impact on firms' order books in Germany, the ministry said that the gain was mainly driven from abroad, where orders rose by 8.3 percent on the month.

Domestic orders rose by a less impressive 1.4 percent.

Nevertheless, the ministry said: "After three declines in a row, industrial orders have made a good start to the final quarter of the year."

"The demand trend however remains subdued. Industrial production should therefore continue its currently settled development," the ministry said in a statement.

Despite the crisis seething around it, Germany's economy has remained broadly on track, although analysts warn that it cannot remain immune to the turmoil forever.

Last week, unemployment in Germany fell to a 20-year low point and retail sales surprised to the upside, showing that consumers have not given up their optimism -- a trend also suggested by confidence surveys.

However, there have also been warning signs for Europe's biggest economy, not least from ratings agency Standard and Poor's who warned late Monday that Germany's coveted AAA credit rating was at risk.

A disappointing bond auction in Germany last month had also fuelled fears that the eurozone debt crisis was seeping from the edges of the bloc to the core.

Markets were concerned that if European powerhouse Germany was having difficulty selling its bonds, then there was little hope for the likes of Italy and Spain.

© 2011 AFP

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