German exports rise, output falls slightly in November

Containers are seen at a terminal in the port of Hamburg, Germany November 14, 2019. REUTERS/Fabian Bimmer

BERLIN, Jan 7 (Reuters) - German exports grew in November despite persisting supply bottlenecks in manufacturing, as industrial output fell, data showed on Friday.

The mixed data reflect the German economy's struggles to overcome the bottlenecks as well as restrictions introduced to contain a spreading fourth wave of the coronavirus driven by the Omicron variant.

Seasonally adjusted exports increased by 1.7%, the Federal Statistics Office said.

Imports rose 3.3% after a slightly revised rise of 5.2% in the prior month. The trade surplus decreased to 10.9 billion euros ($12.3 billion) from 12.4 billion euros the previous month.

A Reuters poll had pointed to a 0.2% decrease in exports and a 1.7% decrease in imports.

Industrial output fell by 0.2% after a 2.4% jump in October.

"Today's data shows that German exporters used the small window between the third and fourth wave of the pandemic to play catch-up, benefiting from strong manufacturing growth in Asia," Carsten Bzerski of ING wrote in a note.

"Industrial production, however, struggled to keep up. Unfortunately, this is where the rebound of German industry stops for the time being. The fourth wave of the pandemic and Omicron should send industrial activity back into hibernation."

A breakdown of the data showed that the production of intermediate and investment goods fell slightly.

The biggest drop in activity was in the energy sector, where output fell 4.4%. The construction sector saw activity drop by 0.8%.

The only bright spot was a 0.2% rise in the production of manufactured goods, the data showed.

($1 = 0.8849 euros)

Reporting by Joseph Nasr, Editing by Miranda Murray and John Stonestreet

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