German industrial output posted its steepest drop in more than a year in September, suggesting Europe's biggest economy may feel a year-end chill from a slowdown in emerging markets.
The 1.1% drop announced today was the second consecutive monthly fall in production and defied expectations in a Reuters poll for a rise of 0.5%.
Combined with September's sharp decline in industrial orders, due mainly to weaker foreign demand, the fall in output will feed speculation that the economy may lose steam at the end of the year.
Economists said the data suggested that the economy could not rely on industry to support growth as it heads into the final quarter.
Output declined across all sectors, except for energy which notched up a 0.3% increase, today's figures show.
In the less volatile three-month comparison, factories produced 0.3% fewer goods on the quarter in the three months from July to September, with an increase in construction failing to fully offset a fall in manufacturing output.
"After a good development in the first half, German industry is currently experiencing a light tailwind from the world economy, in particular due to a slowdown in some large emerging markets," the Economy Ministry said in a statement.
Nonetheless, businesses continue to remain positive, the ministry said, suggesting the current dry spell would only be limited.
The data comes after the BGA wholesalers and exporters body last week raised its forecast for export growth for 2015, saying demand from Europe and the US would offset weaker emerging markets and any negative impact from the Volkswagen scandal.
The German government expects strong private consumption and higher state spending on refugees to drive growth in Europe's largest economy by 1.7% this year and by 1.8% next year.