Mechanical engineering industry takes a breather

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In May 2018, incoming orders in the mechanical engineering sector in Germany fell slightly short of the previous year's result.

In May 2018, incoming orders in the mechanical engineering sector in Germany fell only slightly short of the previous year's result (minus 1 percent in real terms). While domestic orders increased slightly (plus 1 percent), orders from abroad were down 2 percent on the previous year. Orders from the euro partner countries in particular showed a decline (minus 11 percent), while orders from non-euro countries increased by 2 percent. "One should not overestimate this monthly minus. After half a year with double-digit growth rates almost throughout, mechanical engineering industry is apparently taking a little breather," says VDMA chief economist Dr. Ralph Wiechers.

"One should not overestimate this monthly minus. After half a year with double-digit growth rates almost throughout, mechanical engineering industry is apparently taking a little breather".

Other key figures show that the mechanical engineering sector has so far been steering through the year with considerable momentum. After four months (January to April), production grew by 4.2 percent in real terms over the previous year, while exports increased by 3.4 percent in the same period. "Our economy is in good shape," stresses Wiechers. Capacity utilization at the plants even rose slightly above the 90 percent mark in April. "There are noticeable bottlenecks in supplies and, above all, in available manpower. Companies could produce more if they found enough skilled workers," says the VDMA chief economist.

In a three-month comparison (March - May), incoming orders grew by 2 percent in real terms compared to the previous year. An increase of 7 percent in domestic orders was offset by a slight decline of 1 percent in foreign orders. Orders from the euro partner countries were 5 percent lower, while the non-euro countries increased their orders by 1 percent.