German factory orders fall more than expected in December

BERLIN (AP) — German factory orders fell more sharply than expected in December, suggesting recent coronavirus lockdown measures are starting to impact industry in Europe’s largest economy, new statistics showed yesterday.

Industrial orders fell 1.9 per cent in December over the previous month, following a slightly upwardly revised 2.7 per cent increase in November, the Federal Statistical Office reported. Economists had forecast a one per cent decline for December. Domestic orders decreased by 0.9 per cent while foreign orders dropped by 2.6 per cent in December. New orders from the eurozone fell 7.5 per cent, while those from other countries increased by 0.5 per cent.

The decline was the first in Germany after seven consecutive monthly increases, noted ING economist Carsten Brzeski.

“German industry had remained almost unharmed by the November lockdown,” he said in a research note. “Today’s data, however, show that the stricter lockdown measures since mid-December, as well as the Christmas break, have finally hit German industry.”

Compared with February 2020, the month before the first restrictions were imposed in Germany due to the coronavirus pandemic, new orders in December 2020 were 2.6 per cent higher in seasonally and calendar adjusted terms, the statistical office said.