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Business

German engineers export fewer machine tools

Germany's mechanical engineering sector has stagnated as foreign demand for its machine tools has ebbed. More orders from eurozone countries weren't enough to compensate for a drop in business with Russia.

Foreign companies bought fewer machine tools manufactured in Germany in April compared with one year ago, the VDMA industry federation said Monday.

A 14-percent uptick in orders from other eurozone countries was not enough to make up for lost business with Russia, once Germany's number-four customer before international sanctions over

its role in the Ukrainian civil war

took effect.

The manufacture of machine tools has long been a central pillar of

Europe's largest economy

, which is largely made up of small and medium-sized enterprises known as the Mittelstand.

Incoming orders were down 2 percent on the year, VDMA said. Domestic orders fell by 3 percent and export orders slipped by 2 percent. In order to get a more complete picture with fewer one-off fluctuations, the federation made a three-month comparison that also showed overall orders stagnating.

In that evaluation, orders from abroad were seen rising by 1 percent, but domestic orders were down by 3 percent.

"The three-month comparison also shows that the mechanical engineering sector has not managed to achieve any upward momentum as yet," said VDMA Chief Economist, Ralph Wiechers.

cjc/hg (dpa, AFP, Reuters)

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