German engineering orders, a pillar of Europe's biggest economy, slumped by 43% in July from the level in July last year, data released on Sept. 3 by the sector federation VDMA showed.
But the figures for orders for plants and machinery showed signs that the worst of a heavy slump was nearly over, a statement quoted VDMA president Manfred Wittenstein as saying. Wittenstein said there were "initial, vague signs that the orders slump is bottoming out."
For all of 2009, the federation estimated that orders would lose 2 from their level a year earlier, and remain stable in 2010.
The VDMA represents more than 3,000 firms employing 975,000 people and generating 2008 sales of 205 billion euros (US$290 billion.)
On a less volatile three-month basis, overall orders plummeted 46% from May to July compared to the same period in 2008, with foreign orders off 47% and domestic orders dropping 43%, the VDMA said.
Germany's economy is highly dependent on exports, particularly of engineering goods, and the global recession has led to a slump in demand and made the country one of the biggest sufferers among advanced economies.
But economic activity expanded by 0.3% in the second quarter from the first three months of the year, raising hopes that Germany might soon pull out of its worst recession in six decades.
Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2009