February 2024 | East German mechanical and plant engineering closed the year 2023 with an above-average order intake. The significant December increase also has a positive impact on the annual balance. However, there is no economic recovery in sight.
In December 2023, customers ordered a total of 95 percent more machines, systems, components and services after adjusting for prices than in the same month of the previous year. This increase is solely due to foreign orders, which increased by 136 percent. Domestic demand, however, remained weak as recently (minus 9 percent).
“An increase in orders of this magnitude is not an everyday occurrence. Unfortunately, not the entire East German industry benefits from this. A few companies have landed large orders and thus boosted the numbers significantly,” explains Oliver Köhn, Managing Director of VDMA East.
For the full year 2023 there is a real increase in orders of 7 percent compared to 2022. While mechanical engineering companies received significantly more orders from abroad (plus 14 percent), noticeably fewer orders were received from domestically (minus 15 percent).
“The annual balance is only positive due to the strong December figures. Instead, many companies report a difficult order situation. “Customers are delaying their purchasing decisions and postponing or canceling planned projects,” says Köhn.
The reasons for the lack of demand are varied. The regional association managing director particularly mentions the weak global economy, the geopolitical trouble spots, Germany’s budget crisis in recent months and the federal government’s zigzag course.
“This mix of serious problems has led to a serious sales crisis. The uncertain general conditions also do not allow for a quick trend reversal. “It is all the more important to effectively relieve the burden on companies and to quickly pass the Growth Opportunities Act,” emphasizes Köhn.