German manufacturing, exports shrug off virus curbs

FRANKFURT AM MAIN (AFP) – German production and exports continued to recover in November, official data showed on Friday, showing that Europe’s largest economy is close to catching up to levels before the economic shock of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Industrial production rose 0.9 per cent month-on-month, the seventh month in a row it increased, federal statistics agency Destatis said, albeit decelerating from a 3.4 per cent rise in October.

It means that production in November was just 3.8 per cent below the level of February 2020, and only 2.6 below the level of November 2019.

Although Germany shut restaurants, bars, cultural and leisure sites in November to curb the spread of the coronavirus, the curbs did not extend to factories or manufacturing, limiting the hit on production or exports of German-made goods.

The outlook for industry “remains subdued in view of the pandemic and tightened lockdowns, but the order situation and business sentiment have improved recently,” the economy ministry said in a statement.

“Neither the light lockdown in Germany itself nor the stricter lockdowns in some neighbouring countries impacted German industry in November,” ING economist Carsten Brzeski said.

German exports increased 2.2 per cent month-on-month, to EUR111.7 billion, but were still down 4.7 per cent on February 2020.

Steam rises from the chimneys in the industrial area in Duisburg, Germany. PHOTO: AP