Machinery orders in Germany halved, worst slump on record

Machinery orders in Germany halved, worst slump on record Frankfurt - Orders for German machinery have slumped by nearly half compared to one year ago in the worst slump since industry-wide records began in 1958, the sector said Wednesday.

The data for February, as reported by members of the VDMA German machinery and plant engineering federation, showed both domestic and export orders sharply down. In real terms, the overall order tally was 49 per cent lower than in February 2008.

Issuing the data in Frankfurt, VDMA said its earlier forecast that the sector's output would decline 7 per cent this year was now out of date. The slump was likely to be between 10 and 20 per cent.

"It's a very unpleasant sensation to have to revise our forecast only six weeks down the track," said VDMA chief executive Hannes Hesse.

German engineering products are prized around the world and are a key export alongside German cars. Hesse said a recovery in confidence among buyers of investment goods was now so uncertain that VDMA was no longer willing to offer an exact forecast.

The data showed domestic orders for machinery such as refineries, turbines and printing presses was down by 45 per cent, while international orders were off by 50 per cent. (dpa)