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Development of incoming orders in the manufacturing industry, reporting month May 2024

According to the Federal Statistical Office, new orders in the manufacturing industry fell by 1.6% in May compared with the previous month, after adjustment for price, calendar and seasonal effects. According to revised figures, they had fallen by 0.6% in April. The renewed decline was due to a marked drop in orders from abroad (-2.8%), especially from countries outside the euro area (-4.6%). In contrast, domestic demand expanded slightly by +0.5%. Unlike in the previous month, an above-average number of large orders were received in May. Adjusted for large orders, incoming orders were down 2.2% compared to the previous month. In a three-month comparison, incoming orders remain clearly on a downward trend (-6.2%), both from the domestic market (-6.4%) and from abroad (-6.1%).

The individual sectors of the manufacturing industry showed different trends: While fewer orders were received in the important sectors of mechanical engineering (-1.9%), motor vehicles and vehicle parts (-2.9%), pharmaceutical products (-2.4%) and other vehicle construction (-19.2%), orders increased in the areas of data, electrical and optical equipment (+11.2%), metal production and processing (+3.8%) and chemicals (+1.7%).

Together with the recent deterioration in business expectations in the manufacturing sector, the ongoing declines in incoming orders initially point to a rather subdued industrial economy in the coming months. Only as global trade continues to recover and demand for industrial products gradually picks up will incoming orders stabilise.