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Industry

German industry disappoints, adds to economy woes

German industrial production slightly rebounded at the end of 2012, but couldn't offset a big drop in the month of October, the latest figures have shown. This adds to signs the economy contracted in the final quarter.

German industrial output posted a weak gain of 0.2 percent in November, according to the latest figure presented by the Economics Ministry Wednesday, after slumping 2 percent in the month of October.

The gain was so modest because rising output in the manufacturing and building sectors could only partly offset slumping production of consumer goods and energy, the data showed.

"After a weak start to the final quarter of 2012, industrial production has stabilized," the ministry said in a statement.

However, analysts polled by Reuters news agency had expected a stronger rebound of 1 percent for Germany's industry, arguing the disappointing November data pointed to shrinking economic activity in the final quarter of 2012.

"There are growing signs that fourth-quarter growth will significantly slump into negative figures even if December production might stabilize," HSBC Trinkhaus analyst Stefan Schilbe told Reuters.

However, ING economist Carsten Brzeski told the same news agency that the robust state of the German economy, coupled with growing overseas demand would herald an end of the contraction in the first six months of 2013.

This view is shared by the German Economics Ministry, which said in its statement that rising industrial orders as well as mounting business confidence, as reflected in recent economic indicators, would point to a more favorable outlook for this year.

uhe/kms (dpa, AFP, Reuters)