German industrial orders rebound decelerates in July

FRANKFURT AM MAIN (AFP) – Germany’s industrial rebound slowed in July, as the economic recovery from the shock of the coronavirus pandemic started to plateau, according to official statistics released yesterday.

Industrial orders increased 2.8 per cent month-on month, driven by Germany’s all-important car industry, after much stronger rises in May and June, statistics agency Destatis said.

The index showed that industrial activity was 7.3 per cent below the same month in 2019, and 8.2 per cent below February 2020, before the impact of measures to combat the spread the pandemic.

The figures were “a slight disappointment,” according to analyst at German public bank LBBW Jens-Oliver Niklasch.

“The easily attainable fruits have been harvested,” Niklasch said, referring to the immediate economic pickup after Germany began gradually easing its lockdown from mid-April.

“Now the economic race to catch up will lose momentum. We will not see the pre-crisis levels quite as quickly as one or the other had hoped recently,” he said.

July’s orders were led higher by the automotive industry, with new orders rising by 8.5 per cent, and the battery manufacturing sector.

Both are benefitting from purchase incentives for electric vehicles, but other branches of the economy are lagging behind, Oxford Economics analyst Oliver Rakau said.

However, car industry statistics released on Thursday showed that demand for new cars slowed in August as consumers held back on new purchases.

Finance Minister Peter Altmaier said this week that the economy is in the midst of a V-shaped rebound, but the threat of any further spikes in coronavirus infections haunts any recovery.

Germany recently reported its highest case numbers since April, and is starting to tighten
restrictions again.

Chancellor Angela Merkel last week said coping with the outbreak will become more challenging in the coming months as Germany heads into colder weather in autumn and winter.