German industrial orders rebound less than expected in September

BERLIN (Reuters) -Higher demand from abroad drove a weaker-than-expected rise in German industrial orders in September following a plunge in the previous month, suggesting that factories in Europe’s largest economy could hike output once supply bottlenecks ease.

FILE PHOTO: A worker wears a protective mask at the Volkswagen assembly line after VW re-starts Europe’s largest car factory after coronavirus shutdown in Wolfsburg, Germany, April 27, 2020, as the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) continues. Swen Pfoertner/Pool via REUTERS

Orders for goods “Made in Germany” were up 1.3% on the month after a revised fall of 8.8% in August, seasonally adjusted figures from the Federal Statistics Office showed on Thursday.

A Reuters poll of analysts had pointed to a rise of 2% on the month.

Excluding orders for large-ticket items, bookings were up by only 0.2% on the month in September.

Demand from countries outside the euro zone jumped by nearly 15%, more than offsetting weaker orders from domestic and other clients in the euro zone.

The economy ministry said the industrial orders data of the past months had been distorted by unusually large orders for goods such as planes and ships which massively pushed up the headline figure in June and July.

“All in all, orders in manufacturing were at a high level and exceeded their pre-crisis level of the fourth quarter of 2019 by roughly 13% in the third quarter,” the ministry said.

Analysts said the supply chain problems in manufacturing and the lack of microchips in the automobile industry in particular were dampening recent orders activity.

“Without the persistent material shortages, the rise would probably have been higher,” Alexander Krueger from Bankhaus Lampe said.

With backlogs remaining high and demand still strong, the outlook for the industry remained good, but factories could only process orders if supply logistics improved, he added.

The government has cut its growth forecast for this year to 2.6% but raised its estimate for next year to 4.1% as the supply bottlenecks for semiconductors and rising energy costs delay Germany’s recovery.

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