German industrial output shows modest recovery in March

Agence France-Presse . Berlin | Published at 11:02pm on May 07, 2021

German industrial output rebounded in March after two months of decline that had kept the country’s recovery at bay amid continued virus restrictions, official data showed on Friday.

Production in Europe’s top economy was up 2.5 per cent compared with the previous month, the Destatis official statistics agency said, after a 1.9 per cent drop in February.

The boost outperforms the predictions of Factset analysts, who had foreseen a rise of 2 per cent.

‘After weaker industrial data in the first months of the year... industry has finally gained momentum,’ said Carsten Brzeski, an analyst for the ING bank.

Production was stifled early in the year by exceptional factors, including Brexit, supply problems in the automotive industry and a slowdown in the construction sector.

Restrictions in place in Germany since November to curb the spread of Covid-19 have also held back productivity.

But construction saw a good month in March, jumping 10.8 per cent.

Production of consumer goods was up 2.9 per cent, while machine tools saw an increase of 1.2 per cent.

However, total production was still down 4.3 per cent compared to February 2020, before the effects of the pandemic began to take their toll.

Exports came in at 126.5 billion euros ($153 billion) in March, up 1.2 per cent on the previous month. Exports to EU countries amounted to 67.5 billion euros — an annual increase of 21.2 per cent.

The increase in production in March failed to prevent Germany from recording a 1.7 per cent contraction in GDP during the first quarter of 2021.

But the government expects the economy to rebound in the second quarter, driven by continued improvement in the industrial sector.