German industrial output falls in December – Metro US

German industrial output falls in December

Steam rises from Neurath lignite power plant
Steam rises from Neurath lignite power plant

BERLIN (Reuters) -German industrial production dipped in December, official data showed on Monday, as supply chain bottlenecks and a drop in construction hampered Europe’s largest economy at the end of last year.

The Federal Statistics Office said the country’s industrial output fell by 0.3% on the month after an upwardly revised increase of 0.3% in November.

A Reuters poll had pointed to a rise of 0.4% in December.

Production in 2021 was 3.0% higher than in 2020 and 5.5% lower than in the pre-crisis year 2019, the office said.

The German economy expanded by 2.8% last year, compared with 7% in neighbouring France, exposing Germany’s vulnerability to the supply chain bottlenecks holding back the manufacturing sector that forms its export-oriented backbone.

Germany is often referred to as the European Union’s economic engine, but restrictions introduced in the autumn to fight a fourth COVID-19 wave as well as the supply chain disruptions translated into a contraction of 0.7% in the fourth quarter.

There have been some signs of a brighter start to 2022.

A survey last week showed that Germany’s manufacturing sector grew for the first time in six months in January as easing bottlenecks allowed producers to crank up output in order to meet higher demand.

German business morale improved in January for the first time in seven months as easing supply bottlenecks brightened the outlook for manufacturers, promising a strong recovery from the coronavirus pandemic in the spring.

In another positive sign, the sales chief of luxury carmaker Porsche AG expects another record year for sales despite the global semiconductor chip shortage, he told industry magazine Automobilwoche.

The German government last month cut its economic growth forecast for 2022 to 3.6%. Economy Minister Robert Habeck said late last month he expected a slowdown to 2.3% in 2023.

(Writing by Paul Carrel; Editing by Zuzanna Szymanska and Miranda Murray)