German factory orders rise strongly in October

AP News
Posted: Dec 05, 2014 8:54 AM

BERLIN (AP) — German factory orders rose strongly in October in a development that's likely to ease concerns over the state of Europe's largest economy, though the country's central bank cautioned Friday that it expects only modest growth over the winter.

October orders were up 2.5 percent over September, the Federal Statistical Office said. Domestic orders provided the main impetus behind the rise, spiking 5.3 percent. Foreign orders swelled only 0.6 percent.

The agency also upwardly revised the previous month to show a 1.1 percent rise.

Germany's economy contracted slightly in the second quarter but avoided recession with meager 0.1 percent growth in the third quarter.

UniCredit economist Andreas Rees says it is "too early to push the all-clear button" for the industrial sector, but that the factory order figures — which beat economists' forecast of a 0.5 percent rise — were a "promising start."

Germany's central bank, the Bundesbank, said it expects economic growth of 0.1 percent in the current quarter compared with the late summer, and only a slight acceleration to 0.2 percent in the first quarter.

"There is, however, a well-founded hope that the current phase of weakness will prove to be temporary," Bundesbank President Jens Weidmann said in a statement.

The central bank cut its forecast for full-year growth in 2014 to 1.4 percent from the 1.9 percent it predicted in June, an outlook that is still more optimistic than the 1.2 percent seen by the government.

It halved its 2015 outlook to 1 percent and said that growth could accelerate to 1.6 percent in 2016, rather than 1.8 percent as previously forecast.