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)