German exports jumped 2.5 percent in November, widening the trade surplus, data showed on Monday, suggesting fourth quarter gross domestic product for Europe's bulwark economy may be stronger than expected.
This is a positive surprise. It raises hope that the decline of the GDP at the end of the year was only relatively small, said Juergen Michels at Citigroup.
Analysts said however sliding industry orders suggested firms were working off backlogs and faced a gloomier outlook as the impact of the euro zone crisis on investor and consumer confidence began to show.
If you look at the development of orders, exports should be weaker in coming months. You can expect an increase in 2012 but to a lower degree than in the last year, Michels added.
Data from the Federal Statistics Office showed the seasonally-adjusted trade surplus widened to 15.1 billion euros in November from a revised 12.5 billion the month prior. That compared with a consensus forecast for a dip to 12.0 billion euros in a Reuters poll of economists.
Exports outpaced a forecast in a Reuters poll for a 0.7 percent rise. Imports fell 0.4 percent, missing expectations for a 1.1 percent rise.
Germany's export-driven economy recovered quickly from the 2008/09 financial crisis but the outlook has darkened as euro zone debt worries have begun to weigh on the real economy.
Domestic demand helped it grow a healthy 0.5 percent in the third quarter, but investor morale has since soured, fuelling expectations of a sharp slowdown going into the new year.
Industrial orders slumped in November by the most since the height of the financial crisis nearly three years ago, data showed on Friday.
Fourth quarter and annual GDP data is due on Wednesday. The median forecast in a Reuters poll of economists is for full-year economic growth of 3.0 percent.
(Reporting by Sarah Marsh)