German Industrial Output Shows Modest Recovery In May

A picture taken on March 19, 2020 shows a view of closed restaurants, bars and locations for adult entertainment on the “Grosse Freiheit” street in the red light district of the northern German city of Hamburg on March 19, 2020. MORRIS MAC MATZEN / AFP

German industrial output rebounded 7.8 percent in May, showing a modest recovery after steep falls in March and April due to the effects of the coronavirus, official data showed Tuesday.

By category, production of machine tools were up 27.6 percent on the month, intermediate goods stagnated at 0.1 percent and consumer goods were up slightly at 1.4 percent, the Destatis official statistics agency said.

The May outcome however fell short of the 10 percent rise predicted by analysts.

“The figure is disappointing. After the sharp declines of the previous months, we expected more,” said Jens Oliver Niklasch, an economist for the LBBW bank.

Output remains down 19.3 percent on May last year, a sign of the slow economic recovery after the restrictive measures put in place to combat the coronavirus pandemic.

Production in the beleaguered auto industry increased in May but was still 50 percent below levels in February, before the effects of the pandemic began to bite.

German industrial output plunged a record 17.5 percent in April compared with March as the coronavirus pandemic shut down Europe’s biggest economy.

After two months of lockdown to slow the spread of the virus, the country gradually began lifting restrictions in May.

However, the economic effects of the pandemic are likely to be felt for several more months as the country entered a recession in the first half of the year, with total economic output down 2.2 percent in the first three months.

Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government expects a return to growth “after the summer break” and “from October at the latest”, Economy Minister Peter Altmaier told the Bild daily on Sunday.

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