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German industrial production rises on construction gains

BERLIN (AP) — German industrial production rose unexpectedly in February, driven by strong growth in the construction sector. The Federal Statistical Office reported Friday industrial production rose 0.7% over January, beating economists' expectations of a 0.5% rise, in seasonally and calendar adjusted figures.

Industrial orders, reported Thursday, fell a strong 4.2% in February and ING economist Carsten Brzeski says the industrial production figures look bad when excluding a 6.8% construction sector increase.

The "data do not bring relief for industry, only for the economy as total," he said in a research note. He says "Brexit woes and the global slowdown have a stranglehold over German industry" but the sector's struggles can only partially be explained by external factors and that it's too early to say what direction it's heading.

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