German August industry output plunges most in 5-1/2 years

BERLIN (Reuters) - German industrial output fell far more than expected in August and posted its biggest drop since the financial crisis in early 2009, Economy Ministry data showed on Tuesday, the latest figures to raise question marks about Europe's largest economy.

The 4.0 per cent month-on-month drop missed the consensus forecast in a Reuters poll for a 1.5 perc ent decrease and came short even of the lowest forecast for a 3.0 per cent fall. It was the biggest drop since a 6.9 per cent fall in January 2009.

Germany's economy had a strong start to the year but shrank by 0.2 per cent in the second quarter. Evidence is mounting that it barely grew in the third quarter and some economists even forecast it may have contracted again.