By Dow Jones Business News, March 08, 2013, 06:16:00 AM EDT
By Nina Koeppen
FRANKFURT--German industrial production was weaker than expected at the start of the year amid slack manufacturing
orders, data from Germany'sEconomics Ministry showed Friday, highlighting the fragility of the country's economic
Total industrial output in January was unchanged on the month, following December's 0.6% gain and falling short of
economists' forecasts of a 0.4% rise.
The industrial production data come within 24 hours of the ministry reporting Thursday that manufacturing orders in
January dropped 1.9% on the month.
The surprising weakness in German industry, if repeated in February, could dent economists' expectations of a swift
rebound for Germany's economy in the first quarter, following a brief contraction at the end of last year.
The data have clearly "raised the bar" for the February release and "another decline would be a worrisome signal,"
Goldman Sachs economist Dirk Schumacher said following Thursday's weak orders publication.
But the ministry remains hopeful that the worst is behind it for Germany's industry. "Months of brightening sentiment
surveys herald...a recovery," it said.
First signs of spring came with Friday's publication of solid construction data. Construction output in January was up
3.0% on the month, more than reversing December's 1.1% drop. But the rise in construction output was not enough to
compensate for falling output in manufacturing and energy, which were down 0.2% and 2.3% respectively. The monthly data
are adjusted for inflation and take account of seasonal swings.
In an annual comparison, industrial production was down 1.3% when taking account of the number of working days in
January 2013 vis-a-vis January 2012.
Write to Nina Koeppen at firstname.lastname@example.org
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