German industrial orders end good run with Dec fall

7 February, 2021 12:00 AM printer

BERLIN: German industrial orders fell in December for the first time in seven months as Covid-19 restrictions squeezed demand, official data showed Friday.

Orders fell 1.9 percent compared with November 2020, but were still 6.4 percent higher than in December 2019, figures from the federal statistics agency Destatis showed, reports AFP.

They were also 2.6 percent higher than in February 2020, before measures to curb the first wave of the virus were ordered worldwide.

Orders fell 7.2 percent over the whole of 2020 compared with the previous year.

Industrial orders are widely tracked as a key indicator of future activity, especially in manufacturing powerhouse Germany.

After plunging in March and April during the first wave of the virus, they rose steadily through the rest of the year and had surpassed pre-crisis levels by October.

But Germany ordered a second lockdown in December, with all non-essential shops forced to close along with schools—measures extended in January until at least mid-February.

Factset analysts had predicted a fall of 1.5 percent for December.

LBBW analyst Jens-Oliver Niklasch said the drop was “a slight disappointment, but in view of the good figures of the previous months, not a disaster”.

“Basically, the industry figures have almost returned to normal again,” he said.

Demand from inside Germany fell 0.9 percent month-on-month in December, while orders from abroad fell 2.6 percent.

Orders for consumer goods dropped 6.4 percent, machine tools 4.6 percent and intermediate goods 0.8 percent.

Destatis also corrected upwards its November orders data to 2.7 percent from 2.3 percent.