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German industry orders rise despite trade headwinds

German industry orders rise despite trade headwinds
FILE PHOTO: A van carrier transports a container at the container terminal "Burchardkai" of the Hamburger Hafen und Logistik AG (HHLA) in the harbour of Hamburg, Germany, on late October 17, 2012. REUTERS/Fabian Bimmer/File Photo   -   Copyright  Fabian Bimmer(Reuters)
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BERLIN (Reuters) – Strong demand from abroad drove an unexpected rise in German industrial orders in October, signalling that Europe’s largest economy was still getting an impulse from exports despite headwinds from trade frictions.

Contracts for ‘Made in Germany’ goods rose by 0.3 percent, data from the Statistics Office showed on Thursday, as strong demand from the euro zone offset a fall in domestic orders.

It was the third consecutive monthly increase and compared with a consensus forecast for a fall of 0.4 percent. September’s figure was downwardly revised to a modest rise of 0.1 percent.

The Economy Ministry said a slowdown in new car registrations stemming from the introduction of stricter pollution standards, known as WLTP, was still weighing on orders. Bottlenecks were gradually clearing up, it added.

The effect of the WLTP standard on new registrations was reflected in a 3.2 percent contraction in domestic demand. That compared with a 2.9 percent rise in foreign orders, including a 7.3 percent increase in new orders from Germany’s euro zone partners, the data showed.

The German economy, in its ninth straight year of expansion, has been relying on domestic consumption and increased state spending for growth as exports weaken.

German exporters have been caught up in trade disputes over tariffs on goods that the United States is trying to resolve with both China and the European Union.

Thomas Gitzel of VP Bank said in a note that orders numbers this year have been weak on the whole and this is a reflection of the effects that tariffs are having on German manufacturers.

“The headline figure is pleasing. Dark clouds are building up on the economic horizon but today’s numbers provide a blue patch,” said Gitzel. “The crisis has been postponed.”

(Writing by Joseph Nasr; Editing by Toby Chopra)

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