German engineering industry sees some relief

For companies in the German mechanical engineering sector, November was the first month with a year-on-year growth trend in 2020.

Overall, order intake in November was up 5%, Kallanish hears from their federation, VDMA. A slight increase in domestic orders of 1% was supplemented by a stronger rise in foreign orders of 7%. Customers from eurozone countries ordered 4% more machinery and equipment, while orders from outside the European Union were up even 9%.

“The result is pleasing, even if partly attributable to a weak prior-year base. In the entire fourth quarter of 2019, the order level was quite low,” says VDMA chief economist Ralph Wiechers. “What matters now is whether the visible positive trend of recent months can continue. After all, the machinery and plant engineering sector is not immune to setbacks in this fragile environment.”

In the less volatile September-November 2020 period, order intake fell by -2% on-year. Although domestic orders were up 2%, foreign orders were -3% below their prior-year level, with little difference between EU and non-EU countries.