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German industrial output stalls even as exports rise

FRANKFURT (AFP) – German industrial production fell slightly in November as persistent supply bottlenecks weighed on companies, official figures showed yesterday, despite exports climbing again.

The country’s manufacturing sector produced 0.2 per cent less in November than in the previous month, the federal statistics agency Destatis said, after a revised rise of 2.4 per cent in October.

Production levels in November 2021 were 2.4 per cent below the same month in 2020, and lagged Germany’s pre-coronavirus crisis output in February 2020 by seven per cent.

While output lagged, exports from Europe’s top economy rose by 1.7 per cent in November on the previous month, according to further data from Destatis, the second consecutive increase in the indicator.

The value of exports totalled EUR125.7 billion, with exports to other European Union countries rising by 14 per cent year on year.

Employees of German car manufacturer Porsche at the production site in Stuttgart, southern Germany. PHOTO: AFP

“The revival of exports and to a lesser extent industrial production in the first months of the fourth quarter indicate how fast and strong German industry can rebound once global supply chain frictions show any relief,” said Carsten Brzeski, head of macro at ING.

Such a prospect was some way off, however, with industry still “in the stranglehold of global supply chain frictions” and needing at least until spring to be back on a sustainable path to recovery, Brzeski said.

The pandemic has caused widespread disruptions in supply chains, leading to shortages of raw materials and key components.

Germany’s flagship auto industry has been particularly hard hit by a shortage of semiconductors, a crucial component in both conventional and electric vehicles, leading to sporadic stoppages on factory lines through 2021.

The sector nonetheless did better in November, with production climbing 4.1 per cent, though not enough for carmakers to avoid a calamitous year with sales in Germany down over 10 per cent.

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