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German factory orders make feeble recovery in September

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BERLIN (AP) — German factory orders, an important indicator for Europe’s biggest economy, made a feeble recovery in September after a big drop the previous month, official data showed Thursday.

The Economy Ministry said orders were up 1.3% after a steep 8.8% decline in August. Even September’s small gain was boosted by bulk orders in the manufacturing sector, without which there would have been only a 0.2% increase.

Demand was led by orders from outside the 19 nations using the euro currency, which were up 14.9%. Domestic orders dropped 5.9%, and those from elsewhere in the eurozone fell 7.3%.

For the third quarter as a whole, orders were up 1% compared with the previous three-month period, the ministry said.

Germany’s recovery from the coronavirus pandemic is progressing more slowly than originally anticipated amid concern about higher energy prices and stubborn bottlenecks in supplies of raw materials and parts.

The Federal Statistical Office said last week that gross domestic product grew by 1.8% in the July-September period compared with the previous quarter. That followed growth of 1.9% in the second quarter and a 1.9% decline in the first quarter.

The German government also cut its full-year growth forecast last week to 2.6% from the 3.5% it had predicted in April. Last year, GDP shrank by 4.9%.

“Today’s drop in domestic orders could already be a reflection of ongoing supply chain frictions and companies simply delaying new orders, knowing that delivery times are long anyway,” said Carsten Brzeski, an economist at ING in Frankfurt.

“For the time being, order books are still richly filled and every improvement of the supply chain should also lead to an immediate boost for industrial production.”

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