German industrial output showed a bigger slump than expected in September, official data showed Tuesday, in signs that Europe's biggest economy is struggling to emerge from a slowdown.

Output slipped by 1.4 percent on the month before to reach the lowest level since August 2020.

The fourth consecutive monthly fall was also steeper than the 0.3 percent dip forecast by analysts polled by financial data firm FactSet.

Worryingly for Germany, the crucial automotive and auto supplier industry recorded a sharp drop of five percent.

However, machine manufacturing gained 4.1 percent, while the energy-intensive chemicals sector also eked out a 0.9 percent growth.

Analysts at Capital Economics said the data suggests that "prospects for the winter months look very poor".

ING analyst Carsten Brzeski said the "recent developments have clearly increased the risk that the German economy will end the year in recession."

Germany's crucial industrial sector has been facing a series of headwinds in recent months, as inflation and high energy prices combined with a weakening Chinese economy take their toll on the export powerhouse.

The German economy tipped into a recession at the start of the year and stagnated in the second quarter.

A string of weak economic data since then has added to fears of a prolonged downturn.

The International Monetary Fund has predicted that Germany will be the only major advanced economy to shrink this year.