German industrial production was further ground down in December as the US-China trade conflict dragged on, official data showed today, while the country's prized trade surplus also ticked down over 2019 as a whole.

Output at German manufacturing companies fell 3.5% month-on-month, statistics authority Destatis said in seasonally adjusted data, and was down 6.8% on the year. 

Production was lower across all manufacturing sectors, with producer goods, consumer goods and capital good firms falling back. 

Meanwhile there was also a sharp fall of 8.7% in the construction sector, which had been one of the few bright spots. 

"Recent tentative progress in production and incoming orders points to weak growth not yet being overcome," the economy ministry in Berlin said in a statement. 

The fall "contradicts the widely held view that Germany's manufacturing sector was beginning to recover at the end of last year," Capital Economics analyst Andrew Kenningham commented. 

"We doubt this will be the last of the run of negative quarters," he added, pointing to a looming impact of the novel coronavirus outbreak in China on supply chains in Germany's vital car industry. 

Destatis reported in a separate release that Germany's trade surplus - the amount exports outweighed imports - fell back to €224 billion over the full year in 2019, slightly lower than the previous year's €228 billion. 

While knock-on effects from the US-China trade war and threats from Washington to open up a new front with the EU weighed on sales of German goods abroad, exports still added 0.8% over 2018's level, at over €1.3 trillion. 

But imports picked up faster, adding 1.4% to top €1.1 trillion.