By Michael Nienaber
BERLIN (Reuters) – German industrial output unexpectedly fell in November for the third consecutive month, data showed on Tuesday, adding to signs that Europe’s largest economy shifted into a lower gear in the final quarter of 2018.
Data from the Federal Statistics Office showed industrial output was down by 1.9 percent, way below a Reuters forecast of an increase of 0.3 percent.
The figure for October was revised down to a fall of 0.8 percent from a previously reported drop of 0.5 percent.
German factories churned out fewer intermediate, capital and consumer goods, according to more detailed data published by the Economy Ministry. Output in the construction industry also decreased, as did production in the energy sector.
The ministry pointed to special factors including an unusual high number of bridge days around national holidays and problems faced by the car industry as it adjusted to new emission standards.
“November’s decline in German industrial production adds to the evidence that the euro zone’s largest economy grew at a meagre pace in Q4,” Jack Allen from Captial Economics said.
Germany’s economic upswing is expected to lose momentum as exporters are struggling with weaker global demand, trade disputes driven by U.S. President Donald Trump’s ‘America First’ policies and Britain’s departure from the European Union.
These external risks are cushioned, however, by a vibrant domestic economy and strong household spending as consumers are benefiting from record-high employment, inflation-busting pay hikes and low borrowing costs.
The Federal Statistics Office will publish preliminary gross domestic product growth data for the fourth quarter and 2018 as a whole on Tuesday next week.
(Reporting by Michael Nienaber; editing by Andrew Heavens)