Germany’s March factory production, exports up sharply

Factory production and exports increased strongly in Germany in March, according to official statistics released Friday, developments that bode well for the second quarter in Europe’s largest economy as it struggles to emerge from the coronavirus pandemic, AP reports.

The Economy Ministry said industrial production rose 2.5% in March over February when adjusted for seasonal and calendar factors.

The increase followed drops of 1.9 percent in February and 2.2 percent in January. ING economist Carsten Brzeski noted that on the year, industrial production was up a strong 5.1 percent.

In a separate encouraging report, German exports were up 1.2 percent in March over February, and up by 16.1 percent over March of last year, according to seasonally and calendar adjusted figures from the Federal Statistical Office.

“Looking ahead, filled order books and low inventories bode well for industrial activity. Fiscal stimulus and investment initiatives around the globe should also benefit German industry.”

In the first quarter, exports were up overall 2.4 percent over the same quarter of 2020, with a strong 4.8 percent rise in exports inside the European Union brought down by a 0.3 percent drop to non-EU countries. Imports grew by 4.5 percent in the EU and fell by 0.1 percent from outside the EU.

“After weaker industrial data in the first months of the year on the back of a long Christmas break, harsh winter weather and the Chinese New Year, industry has finally gained momentum,” Brzeski said.

The first quarter of 2021 was the first since Britain’s exit from the EU, and Brzeski noted it was the first time ever the United Kingdom had dropped out of Germany’s top five most important export destinations.

In the first quarter, German exports to Britain dropped by 17.6 percent while imports from Britain dropped by 27.7 percent over the same quarter in 2020.

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