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German Exports, Industrial Production Improve

Exports were up 1.6 percent in November, the third consecutive monthly increase, as industrial production in Europe's biggest economy returned to growth.

BERLIN (AP) -- German exports rose for the third consecutive month in November, while industrial production in Europe's biggest economy returned to growth as global gloom lightened, official data showed Friday.

Germany exported goods worth €73.7 billion ($105.9 billion) in November -- a 1.6 percent gain compared with October in seasonally adjusted terms, the Federal Statistical Office said.

The monthly gain -- which was double economists' forecasts of a 0.8 percent rise -- followed increases of 1.9 percent in October and 3.6 percent in September.

In year-on-year terms, exports were down 3.1 percent in November. While exports to other nations in the European Union were down 6.7 percent, those to non-EU countries were up 2.9 percent.

Germany exported goods worth €734.6 billion in the first 11 months of last year -- down a steep 19.9 percent on the same period in 2008.

Exports traditionally have been the motor of the German economy, and the country went into recession in 2008 as demand dried up amid the global economic crisis. The economy returned to modest growth in last year's second quarter, but unemployment is expected to rise in the coming months.

Imports were down a sharp 5.9 percent on the month in November following a shallower 2.9 percent decline in October, the statistical office said.

Total imports amounted to €56.3 billion -- down 14.8 percent on the year.

"The economic revival in emerging countries is being reflected in German foreign trade," said Anton Boerner, the head of the BGA exporters' association. "However, the strong decline in imports shows that large parts of the economy are still running in neutral."

Industrial production in Germany was up 0.7 percent on the month in November, recovering from a 1.7 percent decline in October, the Economy Ministry said. The October figure was revised upward from an initial estimate of 1.8 percent.

The improvement was led by a 1.7 percent increase in production of consumer goods; demand for so-called investment goods, such as machinery, was up only a weak 0.3 percent.

The overall increase was a little short of economists' forecast of 1 percent.

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