The automotive industry provided a hefty boost in January, recording a 7.6% rise in output on the previous month. At the end of last year the sector had cut back production sharply. But chemicals, metal production and processing also saw substantial increases. Although this positive trend is unlikely to continue unabated in the coming months, there also no grounds for pessimism. New orders from abroad, which went into sharp retreat from the middle of last year, have picked up again appreciably since November. Demand from within the eurozone has already been heading up for a while now, but non-eurozone orders have also bounced back in recent months. This suggests that the global slowdown is not set to worsen. We think it more likely that world trade will get back into stride in the course of this year.