• Germany's news in English

New data stokes fears of uncertain economic recovery

AFP · 5 Feb 2010, 15:11

Published: 05 Feb 2010 15:11 GMT+01:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Output fell 2.6 percent from the previous month according to seasonally adjusted figures provided by the economy ministry, following a gain of 0.7 percent in November and a drop of 1.7 percent in October.

On an annual basis, the fall in December was 7.1 percent, and along with fears over eurozone debt levels, the news helped pushed the euro to a nine-month low of $1.3648 on foreign exchange markets.

Analysts polled by Dow Jones Newswires had expected a rise of 0.5 percent but instead, Germany suffered its steepest fall since February 2009 when the country was mired deep in its worst recession since World War II.

Heavy slumps were seen in the manufacturing and construction sectors, the ministry said in a statement, with only consumer goods production posting an increase.

In general, "industrial production lost momentum" at end of 2009, it said, while forecasting a "downward trend" for the sector in light of the latest industrial orders numbers.

On Thursday, the ministry reported that orders lost 2.3 percent in December as global uncertainty weighed on foreign demand for German goods.

For the entire 16-nation eurozone, the European Central Bank warned Thursday that "the recovery process is likely to be uneven and the outlook remains subject to uncertainty."

Morgan Stanley economist Elga Bartsch said Friday: "We would expect consensus (eurozone) growth forecasts to come down on the back of this report" from Berlin.

Germany accounts for one-third of eurozone output and saw its economy contract by five percent in 2009. With consumption and exports slowly recovering, the government has forecast growth of 1.4 percent this year.

Germany lost its crown as the leading global exporter to China in 2009 however, and the data released Friday implied feeble German industrial output in the last three months of the year.

Story continues below…

But "looking ahead, the weak fourth quarter should be a temporary halt rather than the end of the rebound," ING senior economist Carsten Brzeski said.

"It was just one of these painful reminders that recoveries never follow a straight line."

Encouragement might also come from the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development, which said Friday its composite leading indicators in December gave "stronger signals of an expansion in economic activity" worldwide.

Winter weather could still hamper a German recovery, Brzeski acknowledged, but "while the snow will eventually melt away, the industry-led recovery should stay."

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Outrage over ruling on 'brutal' gang rape of teen girl
The now convicted suspects, sitting in court in Hamburg. Photo: DPA.

A 14-year-old girl was gang-raped and left partially clothed and unconscious in freezing temperatures. Now prosecutors are appealing the sentences for the young men found guilty, most of whom will not set foot in jail.

Dozens of Turkish diplomats apply for asylum in Germany
Demonstrators holding a giant Turkish flag protest against the attempted coup in Istanbul in July. Photo: DPA.

Since the failed putsch attempt in Turkey in July, Germany has received 35 asylum applications from people with Turkish diplomatic passports, the Interior Ministry confirmed on Wednesday.

Hertha Berlin fan club criticised for 'anti-gay banner'
Hertha BSC beat FC Cologne 2-1. Photo: DPA

A 50 metre fan banner apparently mocking the idea of gay adoption has overshadowed Hertha BSC's win in the Bundesliga.

Germany stalls Chinese takeover of tech firm Aixtron
Aixtron headquarters in Herzogenrath. Photo: DPA

The German government on Monday said it had withdrawn approval for a Chinese firm to acquire Aixtron, a supplier to the semiconductor industry, amid growing unease over Chinese investment in German companies.

Politicians call for tough sentences for 'killer clowns'
File photo: DPA.

Now that the so-called 'killer clown' craze has spread from the US to Germany, elected officials are drawing a hard line against such "pranks", with some threatening offenders with jail time of up to a year.

Nearly one in ten Germans are severely disabled
Photo: DPA

New figures reveal that 9.3 percent of the German population last year were considered severely disabled.

The Local List
Germany's top 10 most surreal sites to visit
The Upside-Down House, in Mecklenburg–Western Pomerania. Photo: Olaf Meister / Wikimedia Commons

From upside-down houses on Baltic islands to a fairy-tale castle near the Austrian border, Germany is a treasure trove of the extraordinary.

Bavarian critics back Merkel for Chancellor again
Photo: DPA

The Christian Social Union (CSU) have long delayed backing Angela Merkel as their candidate for Chancellor in next year's general election. But now key leaders are supporting her publicly.

Four taken to hospital after hotel toilet bursts into flames
File photo: DPA.

Four guests at a Nuremberg hotel were taken to hospital due to smoke inhalation early Monday morning after a toilet there burst into flames.

Creepy clown scare spreads to Germany
Two of the clowns were apparently equipped with chainsaws. Photo: Pedro Pardo / AFP file picture

Police said Friday five incidents involving so-called scary clowns had occurred in two north German towns, including one assailant who hit a man with a baseball bat, amid fears that Halloween could spark a rash of similar attacks.

10 things you never knew about socialist East Germany
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
How Germans fell in love with America's favourite squash
How I ditched London for Berlin and became a published author
12 clever German idioms that'll make you sound like a pro
23 fascinating facts you never knew about Berlin
9 unmissable events to check out in Germany this October
10 things you never knew about German reunification
10 things you're sure to notice after an Oktoberfest visit
Germany's 10 most Instagram-able places
15 pics that prove Germany is absolutely enchanting in autumn
10 German films you have to watch before you die
6 things about Munich that’ll stay with you forever
10 pieces of German slang you'll never learn in class
Ouch! Naked swimmer hospitalized after angler hooks his penis
Six reasons why Berlin is now known as 'the failed city'
15 tell-tale signs you’ll never quite master German
7 American habits that make Germans very, very uncomfortable
Story of a fugitive cow who outwitted police for weeks before capture
Eleven famous Germans with surnames that'll make your sides split
The best ways to get a visa as an American in Germany
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd