German industrial output picks up again in January

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German industrial output picked up again in January, the government said Wednesday, as the weather warmed, consumption continued to rise and companies cranked out intermediate goods.

Output gained 1.8 percent from December, the economy ministry said, in line with an average analyst forecast compiled by Dow Jones Newswires.

The ministry also revised its figure for December sharply higher, though it still showed a monthly decline of 0.6 percent from the initially given fall of 1.6 percent.

In January, industrial activity was boosted by a 5.3 percent increase in intermediate goods used in various manufacturing processes.

Output of consumer goods showed a gain of 5.1 percent, another sign that German households have a brighter outlook as unemployment falls to the lowest level since current records began in 1999.

Construction activity, which slumped more than 24 percent in December amidst harsh weather, bounced back with a gain of 36.3 percent last month.

The ministry also publishes a two-month sliding figure to smooth out exceptional effects and it showed a very slight gain of 0.1 percent in December and January compared with October-November.

After suffering its worst post-war recession in 2009, the German economy, the biggest in Europe, posted record post-reunification growth of 3.6 percent last year.

The government forecasts growth of 2.3 percent this year and 1.8 percent in 2012.

On Tuesday, the central bank said growth could be 2.5 percent this year.

Figures released by the economy ministry on Tuesday showed that industrial orders jumped 2.9 percent in January following a slump in December of 3.6 percent.

UniCredit's chief German economist Andreas Rees noted that was the result of a "comeback of overall domestic demand which hit its highest level since August 2008."

© 2011 AFP

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