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German Industrial Production Falls as Recovery Slows

BMW Factory in Leipzig
An employee stands beside a fork lift truck in front of side panel frames for BMW i3 battery-powered automobiles, manufactured by Bayerische Motoren Werke AG, at the company's factory in Leipzig. Photographer: Krisztian Bocsi/Bloomberg

German industrial production dropped in September, signaling that growth in Europe’s largest economy may have cooled in the third quarter.

Output, adjusted for seasonal swings, fell 0.9 percent from August, when it rose a revised 1.6 percent, the Economy Ministry in Berlin said today. Economists forecast no change, according to the median of 36 estimates in a Bloomberg News survey. Production advanced 1 percent from a year earlier when adjusted for working days.

The Bundesbank said last month that German economic growth probably slowed last quarter, and business confidence unexpectedly dropped in October for the first time in six months. The 17-nation euro area, Germany’s largest trading partner, is in an economic recovery that has been described as “fragile” by European Central Bank President Mario Draghi. ECB officials are gathering in Frankfurt today for their monthly policy meeting.

“It is a slow recovery but we’ve seen a turnaround in the euro area,” said Lothar Hessler, an economist at HSBC Trinkaus & Burkhardt AG in Dusseldorf. “German GDP growth may have slowed a bit after the strong second quarter but the economy is stable and growing solidly.”

German manufacturing output slid 1.1 percent in September, with production of investment goods dropping 2.1 percent, today’s report showed. Construction fell 1.8 percent, while energy output rose 2.1 percent.

Upward Trend

Industrial production for the two months through September climbed 0.6 percent, adding to data yesterday that showed German factory orders increased more than estimated.

“Despite the current slight decline, the trend for industrial production remains upward,” the Economy Ministry said in the statement. “The rising trend in manufacturing and construction orders points to a continued economic recovery.”

Germany’s gross domestic product probably expanded 0.4 percent in the three months through September after growth of 0.7 percent in the second quarter, according to Bloomberg’s monthly economic survey published Oct. 10. The Federal Statistics Office is scheduled to release preliminary GDP data on Nov. 14.

Brenntag AG, the largest distributor of chemicals, trimmed its full-year profit forecast this month, saying it saw no “tangible” upturn in markets and continued to face “challenging” economic conditions, while Beiersdorf AG, the Hamburg-based maker of Nivea hand cream, raised its full-year sales forecast.

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