Order boom in mechanical engineering – concerns about material shortages


The demand for machines from Germany is booming around a year after the start of the corona pandemic. Companies received 72 percent more orders in April than in the weak month of the previous year, as the industry association VDMA announced on Wednesday in Frankfurt. A similarly strong increase was decades ago. “In 1981 we had a plus of 100 percent, since then we have never had such high values ​​again,” said VDMA chief economist Ralph Wiechers.

However, the base effect also played a role in April, because a year ago “everything was really down due to the pandemic,” explained Wiechers. The export-oriented German key industry felt this when it came to incoming orders. Orders fell by 31 percent in April 2020. The industry is currently benefiting from the economic upswing, which is gaining strength, reported the chief economist.

Domestic orders increased by 60 percent in April, and 78 percent more orders were received from abroad. Nevertheless, the picture is not clear. “We are worried about the currently very tense supply chains,” said Wiechers. “Ultimately, everything is scarce, be it steel, electrical components or even paint and packaging material.” In addition, there is gradually a shortage of skilled workers. Problems in the supply of materials and parts are currently burdening the industry worldwide.

In the three-month period from February to April, which is less prone to fluctuations, orders increased by 34 percent compared to the previous year. In the Corona year 2020, the German mechanical engineering company recorded the sharpest drop in orders since the financial crisis.

The industry assumes that it will at least partially make up for the massive corona setback in the current year. The VDMA recently expected a price-adjusted growth in production of 7 percent, after a slump of around 12 percent in 2020.


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