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Industry

German industry output slumps for second consecutive year

Industrial production in Europe’s biggest economy was disappointing in 2013, weighed down by falling activity in the machine tool and chemical sectors. Only Germany’s carmakers could convince.

German industrial output in 2013 contracted by 0.2 percent compared with 2012, the country's statistics office, Destatis, announced on Monday.

The surprise decline marked the second consecutive year of falling industry output, Destatis said, although it was lower than the 0.8-percent contraction in 2012.

“Domestic industrial production shrank 1.6 percent, while activity of German factories abroad increased 1.4 percent,” the German statisticians added. They also noted that sales to eurozone countries slumped 1.7 percent in 2013 as demand for German industry goods and services outside the 18-country currency area rose 3.5 percent.

Industry sectors hardest hit by the slump were machine tools, down by 2.2 percent in 2013, and the chemical industry where production was 0.6 percent lower. German carmakers were faring generally better, seeing their revenues rise by 2.2 percent overall.

German chemicals firms seek 2014 turnaround

Doubts about an imminent recovery in German factories output mounted after Destatis reported on Friday that slipped further. The results were another setback for Germany, after disappointing export figures for December, analysts said.

“With the numbers, the last faint hope that fourth quarter growth could still surprise to the upside has disappeared,” ING DiBa analyst Carsten Brzeski told AFP news agency. And Capital Economics expert Jonathan Loynes told the same news agency that the output data were a blow to hopes that the eurozone's main growth engine was picking up speed.

uhe/msh (Reuters, AFP)

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