German Output Declined 4.6% in December

Machine tool production fell 8.2%

German industrial output fell much more than expected in December, economy ministry figures showed on Feb. 7, while orders data a day earlier indicated the decline will persist well into 2009. Output by German companies declined by 4.6% from November, much worse than an average analyst forecast of a 3%.

On a 12-month basis, output declined by 7.5% in December.

A traditional strong point of the German economy, machine tool production, was among the sectors that showed the biggest decline. Output of intermediate goods, machines used to make other products, dropped by 8.2% on a monthly basis, while that of investment goods was off by 4.9%.

"In light of continued strong decline of demand for industrial products, one should expect the weak trend to continue in the coming months," a ministry statement said.

On Thursday, ministry figures for industrial orders showed they had fallen by 6.9% in December from the previous month, more than twice the forecast level.

For the full year 2008, orders for good from Germany, the world's leading exporter, plunged by 25.1% as the global economic slowdown slammed its main trading partners.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2009

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