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German factory production, exports drop in September

Associated Press Associated Press 8/11/2016
German Chancellor Angela Merkel, left, visits an office of the immigration authorities in Berlin, Monday, Nov. 7, 2016. (Tobias Schwarz/Pool Photo via AP) © The Associated Press German Chancellor Angela Merkel, left, visits an office of the immigration authorities in Berlin, Monday, Nov. 7, 2016. (Tobias Schwarz/Pool Photo via AP)

BERLIN — German factory production and exports fell in September, according to official figures released Tuesday, which analysts said points to flat third quarter GDP growth for Europe's largest economy.

The Economy Ministry said industrial production dropped 1.8 percent in September over August, according to season- and calendar-adjusted figures. That followed a robust 3 percent rise in August, which was revised upward from the 2.5 percent growth initially reported, and a 1.5 percent drop in July.

The ministry said overall production in the third quarter was up 0.3 percent over the previous quarter and that it expects a "slight uptick" in factory production growth in the coming months.

Meantime, Germany's trade surplus narrowed slightly as both exports and imports decreased in September.

According to the Federal Statistical Office, exports dropped 0.7 percent in September over August, while imports fell 0.5 percent in season- and calendar-adjusted terms.

With exports of 106.4 billion euros ($117.7 billion) and imports of 82 billion euros, the trade surplus fell to 24.4 billion euros in September, or 21.3 billion euros in adjusted figures.

Exports to the U.S., China and the United Kingdom made up almost a quarter of the total, according to bilateral trade data, ING economist Carsten Brzeski noted. That raises concerns that the decline in value of the pound, an economic slowdown in China and the possibility of greater trade protectionism under a new U.S. president could cause problems in the future.

"The German economy remains on an incredible roller-coaster ride. Down one minute, up the next," Brzeski said. "The combination of Brexit uncertainty, a mature business cycle and political and economic uncertainty in many important trading partners keeps the industry treading water."

He predicted "meagre growth" when Germany releases its third quarter GDP figures next week.

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