German Industrial Orders Rebound In August

BERLIN (AP) -- German industrial orders returned to stronger-than-expected growth in August following a decline the previous month, powered by a surge in demand from other countries in the 16-nation eurozone, official data showed Wednesday.

Orders rose 3.4 percent compared with the previous month, boosted by an above-average number of large orders in sectors such as aviation and shipbuilding, the Economy Ministry said. That easily beat economists' prediction of a 1 percent increase.

The increase in August followed a 1.6 percent monthly decline in July. That figure was revised upward from the gloomier initial reading of a 2.2 percent drop.

Strong export growth helped Germany to quarter-on-quarter economic growth of 2.2 percent in the second quarter. That pace is expected to slow but the recovery remains on track.

Foreign demand was again the key driver of industrial orders in August. While orders from inside Germany slipped by 0.5 percent, orders from abroad were up 6.6 percent. That increase was driven by a 13.8 percent surge in demand from elsewhere in the eurozone.

The Economy Ministry noted that demand has fluctuated in recent months depending on quantities of large orders. However, it said the trend "remains upward" regardless of that.

In a less volatile comparison, the ministry said total orders for July and August were up 2 percent compared with the preceding two-month period. Foreign orders increased 3.5 percent while domestic orders stagnated.

"The crucial factor behind a continuation of the solid upswing in German industry remains external demand," said Alexander Koch, an economist at UniCredit in Munich.

"Although the domestic economy shows increasing signs of stabilization ... a severe deterioration in the global growth environment would inevitably have substantial negative spillover effects to domestic business investment and the labor market," he added.

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