BERLIN German industrial output rose less than forecast in November due to a sharp fall in energy and consumer goods production, data showed on Wednesday, providing scant hope that Europe's largest economy escaped contraction in the fourth quarter.
Output edged up by 0.2 percent on the month in November, supported by an increase in capital goods production and a rise in construction activity, the economy ministry data showed.
The headline figure came in well below the mid-range forecast in a Reuters poll of 30 economists for a 1.0 percent rise, with a 3.3 percent drop in energy output and a 2.2 percent fall in consumer goods production dragging overall output lower.
"After a weak start to the fourth quarter of 2012, industrial production has stabilised for the time being," the ministry said in a statement.
"However, in the fourth quarter it will probably remain below third quarter levels," the ministry added.
The output data for October was upwardly revised to a fall of 2.0 percent from a previously reported drop of 2.6 percent.
Wednesday's figures came on the heels of data showing German industrial orders, exports and imports all came in weaker than expected in November.
(Writing by Michelle Martin in London, editing by Gareth Jones)