Worst-ever plunge for German industrial orders in April

FRANKFURT AM MAIN (AFP) – New orders for German manufacturing firms saw their sharpest fall on record in April during the coronavirus shutdown official data showed yesterday, plunging a worse-than-expected 25.8 per cent from March.

The closely-watched indicator of future industrial activity saw “the biggest fall since the beginning of the data series in 1991” just after German reunification, federal statistics authority Destatis said.

The reading was down 36.6 per cent year-on-year, it added.

Destatis had previously flagged March’s 15-per cent month-on-month plunge as the worst in the history of the industrial orders measure.

“The collapse in new industrial orders worsened again in line with expectations in April,” the economy ministry in Berlin said, as “restrictions against the corona pandemic were in place during the whole month”. Demand for investment goods was hardest-hit in April, shedding over 30 per cent, while producer goods lost almost 23 per cent and consumer goods more than 11 per cent.

File photo shows employees working on a Volkswagen car during a final quality control at the Volkswagen plant in Wolfsburg, Germany. PHOTO: AP

In a geographical breakdown, demand from Germany’s eurozone neighbourhood fell the most at over 30 per cent, with the rest of the world not far behind and domestic demand down more than 22 per cent.

Other indicators of German industrial output have also plummeted in recent months.

Since January, carmakers have built fewer than one million vehicles, down more than one-third compared with the first five months of 2019.

Ministers in Chancellor Angela Merkel’s coalition government this week agreed a new USD148 billion stimulus package to get the country moving again as it gradually emerges from infection control lockdowns.