Weak foreign orders depressing Germany

Weak foreign orders depressing Germany

FRANKFURT - Agence France-Presse
Weak foreign orders depressing Germany

Volkswagen workers inspect two of the auto maker’s models coming off the assembly line. Germany’s machine-tools sector has posted poor data due to the crisis. AFP photo

Declining business from abroad hit Germany’s key machine-tools sector in June, the industry federation said yesterday, adding to evidence the debt crisis is reaching Europe’s top economy.

Incoming orders fell by one percent in June compared to the same month in 2011, the VDMA association said, with domestic orders up three percent and orders from abroad down by three percent.

Over the second quarter, total orders were down six percent and over the first half of the year down seven percent.

“Demand from non-euro countries appears to have bottomed out. The domestic trend declined a little bit more as well,” said Olaf Wortmann from the VDMA.

Germany has fared better than many of its European partners in the more than two year debt crisis but clouds are gathering over the economic powerhouse.

Business confidence as measured by the closely watched Ifo index has dropped for the past three months and the ZEW investor sentiment survey has also hit a six-month low.

Data published on July 31 showed that unemployment rose in July to 6.8 percent from 6.6 percent in the previous month as the crisis begins to take its toll on the labor market.