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German industrial production slides in July

Published on September 06, 2019

Industrial production in Germany ground down further in July, official data showed Friday, as a global trade slowdown continues to batter the country’s export-oriented manufacturers.

Output at producer firms was down 0.6 percent month-on-month, federal statistics authority Destatis said, slightly worse than predicted by analysts.

In a year-on-year comparison, the fall was starker, at 4.2 percent.

“Industrial activity remains weak,” the economy ministry in Berlin commented.

“Given the weak start to the second half of the year and the as-yet unseen recovery in industrial orders, there is no prospect of an improvement.”

Figures released Thursday had showed a 5.6-percent year-on-year drop in orders — an important indicator of future activity for manufacturers.

Looking in more detail at Friday’s output data, the one bright spot came for consumer goods firms, whose production 0.6 percent month-on-month.

Meanwhile producer and capital goods makers’ output fell by 0.7 and 1.2 percent.

Energy production fell, while construction activity was almost flat.

With its massive trade surplus, Germany is especially vulnerable to the commercial conflicts that have set the US, China and Europe at loggerheads since the election of President Donald Trump.

So far there appears little prospect of a Washington-Beijing truce, while other factors like weakness in emerging markets and Brexit also weigh on manufacturers.

Aside from hard data, “there is still no sign in the latest surveys that the manufacturing recession is bottoming out,” commented Andrew Kenningham of Capital Economics.

“Germany’s industrial recession is continuing in Q3 and looks set to drag on beyond that.”