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Industry

German output rebounds despite crisis

German industrial production has rebounded despite the eurozone crisis. Figures available for May 2012 signal that overall output almost cancelled out a steep drop in the month before thanks to the building sector.

German industrial production showed a surprising increase in May, data from the Economics Ministry in Berlin indicated on Friday. Overall output climbed by 1.6 percent, following a sharp drop of 2.1 percent in the previous month.

"Despite the risks resulting from the eurozone debt crisis, the chances have grown for a stable second-quarter industrial production [in Germany]," the ministry said in a statement.

The marked increase in May was largely due to a solid 3.1-percent gain in the building sector. Manufacturing was up 1.8 percent, while energy output dipped by 1.6 percent in the same month.

Fuller order books

Analysts didn't share the Economics Ministry's positive outlook for the months ahead. "Given the volatility of the data, another monthly fall in June would be no surprise and would leave industry's contribution to overall economic growth in the second quarter much weaker than in the first three months of the year," Capital Economics Analyst Jonathan Loynes told the AFP news agency. The figures for June are expected to be released soon.

The current strength of the construction sector was undisputed among market strategists. "Together with resilient consumption, the building sector has the potential to counter-balance some of the inevitable weaknesses in other sectors due to the European confidence crisis," Berenberg Bank Economist Christian Schulz maintained.

The surge in output went hand in hand with a 0.6-percent increase in industrial orders in May, driven by a jump in foreign demand, including a 7.7-percent surge in demand from eurozone partners.

hg/ng (AFP, dpa)