German manufacturing makes surprisingly strong start to the year

German manufacturing orders went up by 5.5 per cent in January, the Federal Statistical Office (Destatis) reported on Friday, offering a glimmer of hope for the country’s struggling industry.

In seasonally and price-adjusted terms, it was the strongest month-on-month increase for manufacturing orders since mid-2014.

The provisional figure far exceeded analysts’ expectations of a 1.3-per-cent increase.

Destatis noted that the spike was mainly down to large orders, particularly of air- and spacecraft and machinery and equipment, although the office said the result would have still gone up even excluding those contracts.

The strong result stands out against a slew of gloomy economic data for Europe’s largest economy. Growth ground to a halt in the fourth quarter of 2019 and the coronavirus pandemic is expected to take its toll on the Germany’s export-focused economy.

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