German industrial production plunges in April
FRANKFURT - Agence France-Presse
Industrial output fell 1.0 percent month-on-month, federal statistics authority Destatis said, following an upwardly revised 1.7-percent rise in March.
The drop surprised analysts surveyed by Factset who had predicted a modest 0.25-percent increase in production.
“The economy is clearly treading water and is not managing to shift up a gear,” said ING Diba bank analyst Carsten Brzeski.
The only bright spot was construction output, which jumped 3.3 percent.
But considering the steady drop in new orders, it admitted that “industrial growth is likely to slow down” in the near future.
Brzeski said it was getting “harder and harder” to blame Germany’s weak start to 2018 on one-off effects like the weather or public holidays.
“It seems as if supply-side constraints are increasingly hampering Germany’s growth prospects,” he said.
Also on June 8, Destatis issued figures showing that Germany’s oft-criticised trade surplus shrank from almost 22 billion euros ($26 billion) in March to 19.4 billion in April as imports outweighed exports.
U.S. President Donald Trump is one of the loudest critics of the chronic imbalance, and has in the past threatened tariffs on car imports -- a move that would hit German automakers particularly hard.
Fears of a transatlantic trade have intensified after Trump last week slapped punishing tariffs on steel and aluminum imports, prompting vows of retaliation from the European Union.