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German economy stutters as exports and production drop

[ BERLIN] German exports fell sharply in November and industrial output also declined, suggesting Europe's largest economy ended 2014 on a weak note.

Seasonally-adjusted exports declined for a second consecutive month, dipping 2.1 per cent, while imports pushed up 1.5 per cent, narrowing the trade surplus to 17.7 billion euros, data from the Federal Statistics Office showed on Friday.

Economists polled by Reuters had been expecting a more modest fall in exports of 0.2 per cent.

Industrial output decreased by 0.1 per cent as construction activity weakened and energy production fell, separate data from the Economy Ministry showed. The headline figure was weaker than a consensus forecast for a 0.4 per cent increase.

The figures came after data on Thursday showed demand for German industrial goods declining, with orders plunging 2.4 per cent.

REUTERS