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German industrial production down nearly 18% in April

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In this Tuesday, Dec. 11, 2018 photo the European Central Bank (ECB) sits next to the river Main in Frankfurt, Germany. The European Central Bank has boosted its pandemic emergency support program by 600 billion euros to 1.35 trillion euros ($1.5 trillion) in an effort to keep affordable credit flowing to the economy during the steep downturn caused by the virus outbreak. (AP Photo/Michael Probst, file)

BERLIN (AP) — German industrial production plunged by nearly 18% in April compared with the previous month at the height of Europe’s coronavirus lockdowns, official data showed Monday.

The 17.9% decline reported by the Economy Ministry followed an 8.9% drop in March, when Germany started shutting down. Germany’s lockdown was less severe than those imposed in Italy, Spain and France and it never ordered factories closed, but companies did largely stop production in some areas — such as the automaking sector — and supply chains were disrupted.

Germany started easing restrictions on public life on April 20 and the process has gathered pace since. However, the German economy went into a recession in the first quarter and that is expected to deepen in the current quarter.

Data released on Friday showed that factory orders dropped 25.8% in April, following a 15% drop in March.

Germany’s governing coalition last week agreed on 130 billion euros ($148 billion) in stimulus measures, including tax breaks and subsidies for buying electric vehicles.

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