The German economy, plagued by stubborn material shortages, surprisingly cut back production in November.

Industry, construction and energy suppliers together produced 0.2 percent less than in the previous month, as the Federal Ministry of Economics announced on Friday.

Economists polled by Reuters, on the other hand, had expected an increase of 1.0 percent.

In October production had increased by 2.4 percent.

It is currently still 7.0 percent lower than in February 2020, the month before the restrictions due to the corona pandemic in Germany began.

Since industry alone was able to increase its production by 0.2 percent in November, the ministry sees reason for optimism.

The impairments caused by delivery bottlenecks are likely to continue for a few more months.

"After their dissolution - in view of the full order books - dynamic growth can be expected," said the ministry.

Bulging order books

Exports went surprisingly well.

These increased in November by 1.7 percent compared to the previous month, as the Federal Statistical Office announced.

Here economists had expected a minus of 0.2 percent.

Imports even grew by 3.3 percent, while analysts had expected a decline of 1.7 percent.

The companies are currently sitting on bulging order books.

In the past few months, however, the orders could not be processed due to acute bottlenecks in intermediate products such as microchips.

The shortage of materials in industry worsened again at the end of 2021: 81.9 percent of companies complained of bottlenecks and problems in the procurement of preliminary products and raw materials, more than ever before.

Since the problems are likely to persist for a while, the upswing this year will be smaller than previously assumed, according to forecasts by leading institutes.

The Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW), for example, has lowered its forecast for GDP growth in 2022 from 5.1 to 4.0 percent.