Sat, Jul 06, 2019 - Page 10 News List

German factory orders plunge across industries


German factory orders slumped in May in the latest sign that global trade uncertainty is turning Europe’s temporary slowdown into a more serious downturn.

The German Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy reported huge declines in export orders and investment goods in May, just days after a survey showed factory activity last month shrank for a sixth straight month.

The continued gloom is increasing concern at the European Central Bank (ECB) and a growing number of economists are predicting it would add more monetary stimulus as soon as this month.

While orders data can be volatile, there is little doubt the numbers are disappointing.

The 2.2 percent overall drop on the month was far worse than the 0.2 percent fall predicted by economists in a Bloomberg survey.

The euro weakened and ING said the report “wraps up a week to forget for the German economy.”

Germany’s troubles, some of which are linked to the auto industry, have weighed on the eurozone.

ECB governing council member Olli Rehn summed up the mood on Thursday, saying that growth has “slowed significantly” and it is no longer possible to consider the downturn as temporary.

Commerzbank AG yesterday changed its forecast on ECB stimulus, predicting a 20 basis-point cut in the deposit rate this month, larger than previously anticipated.

The outlook for the economy — and anticipation of another round of monetary policy easing — has pushed bond yields lower.

The German 10-year Bund has fallen below the ECB’s minus-0.4 percent deposit rate for the first time, while both Spain and France are also enjoying record-low borrowing costs.

“The eagerly expected economic recovery in Germany is still nowhere to be seen,” Commerzbank’s Peter Dixon and Jorg Kramer said. “In addition to the weakness of the auto sector, this is attributable to weak demand from China, where the extensive stimulus measures have not yet had any effect.”

The orders report showed that domestic orders rose 0.7 percent month-on-month, while export orders dropped 4.3 percent.

Investment goods orders slid 2.8 percent.

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