German industrial orders surprise with October boost

German manufacturers of capital and consumer goods both saw increased orders in October, but producer goods makers reported falling demand. (AFP)
Updated 06 December 2017
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German industrial orders surprise with October boost

FRANKFURT: Industrial firms in Germany beat analysts’ expectations by reporting slightly increased orders in October, official data showed Wednesday, suggesting a run of strong growth has further to go before petering out.
New contracts — seen as an indicator of future growth in Europe’s largest economy — added 0.5 percent month-on-month, figures from federal statistics authority Destatis showed, where analysts surveyed by Factset had predicted a slight decrease.
The statisticians also revised the previous month’s growth in orders up slightly, to 1.2 percent.
Both domestic and foreign demand for German goods contributed to the October increase, with 0.4-percent growth in orders at home and 0.5-percent expansion abroad.
But new contracts from Germany’s neighbors in the 19-nation eurozone fell by 1.2 percent, while demand from the rest of the world increased 1.6 percent.
Manufacturers of capital and consumer goods both saw increased orders, but producer goods makers reported falling demand.
“Ordering activity increased for the third month in a row in October, overall a very active development,” the economy ministry in Berlin commented in a statement.
The government economists however noted “below average” large orders for items like aircraft weighing on the results.
A two-month comparison of September and October versus July and August — which the ministry argues is more representative of underlying trends — showed growth in orders of 3.4 percent.
Surveys among German business leaders show confidence at an all-time high, with economic growth powered by domestic consumption, a construction boom and growth in investments, while foreign demand for the nation’s goods remains unslaked.
Combined with those factors, Wednesday’s results mean “the business cycle in industry should remain on a strong upward trend,” the ministry predicted.


Libya’s National Oil against paying ‘ransom’ to reopen El Sharara field

Updated 51 min 39 sec ago
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Libya’s National Oil against paying ‘ransom’ to reopen El Sharara field

  • Ransom payment would set dangerous precedent
  • NOC declared force majeure on exports on Monday

BENGHAZI: Libya’s state-owned National Oil Corp. (NOC) said it was against paying a ransom to an armed group that has halted crude production at the country’s largest oilfield.
“Any attempt to pay a ransom to the armed militia which shut down El Sharara (oilfield) would set a dangerous precedent that would threaten the recovery of the Libyan economy,” NOC Chairman Mustafa Sanalla said in a statement on the company’s website.
NOC on Monday declared force majeure on exports from the 315,000-barrels-per-day oilfield after it was seized at the weekend by a local militia group.
The nearby El-Feel oilfield, which uses the same power supply as El Sharara, was still producing normally, a spokesman for NOC said, without giving an output figure. The field usually pumps around 70,000 bpd.
Since 2013 Libya has faced a wave of blockages of oilfields and export terminals by armed groups and civilians trying to press the country’s weak state into concessions.
Officials have tended to end such action by paying off protesters who demand to be added to the public payroll.
At El Sharara, in southern Libya, a mix of state-paid guards, civilians and tribesmen have occupied the field, camping there since Saturday, protesters and oil workers said. The protesters work in shifts, with some going home at night.
NOC has evacuated some staff by plane, engineers at the oilfield said. A number of sub-stations away from the main field have been vacated and equipment removed.
The occupiers are divided, with members of the Petroleum Facilities Guard (PFG) indicating they would end the blockade in return for a quick cash payment, oil workers say. The PFG has demanded more men be added to the public payroll.
The tribesmen have asked for long-term development funds, which might take time.
Libya is run by two competing, weak governments. Armed groups, tribesmen and normal Libyans tend to vent their anger about high inflation and a lack of infrastructure on the NOC, which they see as a cash cow booking billions of dollars in oil and gas revenues annually.