German factory production, exports drop in weak Q2 start

German factory production has fallen more strongly than expected in April and exports have dropped sharply in a weak start to the second quarter in Europe's largest economy.

The Federal Statistical Office reported Friday that industrial production dropped 1.9% over March in seasonally adjusted figures. Economists had predicted a 0.5% decline.

Exports also dropped 3.7% on the previous month while imports fell 1.3% on March, widening the trade surplus to 17 billion euros for April.

ING economist Carsten Brzeski said "this is a horrible start to the second quarter for German industry," fueled by global trade tensions, and temporary problems in the automotive and chemical industries.

The economy "needs even stronger domestic demand and a bounce back in May and June to avoid a return to recessionary territory."