November 29, 2021

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Shortages hit French and German industrial output

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Industrial production was also 9.5 percent below the pre-pandemic February 2020 level, in seasonally and calendar-adjusted terms.

Industrial output fell in September in both France and Germany as delays in receiving materials hampered production, data released Friday showed.

In Germany, where manufacturing for export is the lynchpin of the economy, industrial production fell by 1.1 percent in September from August, the national statistics agency Destatis said. That followed a 3.5 percent drop in August.

The September drop confounded some analysts who had been expecting a gain and on an annual basis output is now down 1.0 percent from last year, having been higher in previous months.

Industrial production was also 9.5 percent below the pre-pandemic February 2020 level, in seasonally and calendar-adjusted terms.

“The main problem is well known: it’s persistent supply chain disruptions,” said LBBW economist Elmar Voelker.

Germany’s auto industry has been particularly hard hit due to a shortage of semiconductors, with production way below pre-pandemic levels.

Meanwhile in France, industrial output recorded its first fall in several months in September, dropping by 1.3 percent from August, according to the French statistics agency INSEE. Automobile manufacturing suffered a 14.6 percent monthly drop.

If third quarter output was up 2.8 percent from last year, French industrial production remains 5.2 percent below its pre-pandemic level, said Insee.

Separately, aircraft manufacturer Airbus said that it delivered 36 planes in October, down from 40 in September, as it reported that some of its suppliers are having trouble increasing parts production after more than a year of working at a slower pace.

Such supply difficulties as economies reopen plus new Covid lockdowns elsewhere and transport delays have hindered many businesses and helped fuel a surge in inflation along with worries about the future of the global economic recovery.

In Spain, industrial output edged 0.3 percent higher after three months of drops, the INE statistics agency said.

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At car plants in Germany, production was down 38 percent in October on the previous year, as some manufacturers were obliged to pause production due to a lack of chips, according to the VDA. In total since the beginning of the year, 2.2 million cars have been sold in Germany, five percent less than over the same period last year.

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“Global component shortages will keep auto production depressed in the near term, a slowdown in the U.S. will constrain external demand, and domestic demand will remain subdued owing to the lack of policy support,” the note said.

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