According to the data published on the ZVEI Business Cycle Report (February 2014 edition), new orders in the German electrical and electronic industry have picked up noticeably again at the end of last year. They soared by 8.6% (year over year). Domestic and foreign bookings thereby rose by 6.9% and 10.0%, respectively. Eurozone customers ordered 7.8% more than a year ago, and new orders from third countries even went up by 11.1%. In the whole of last year the sector’s new orders have exceeded their 2012 level by 2.6%. While domestic bookings (plus 0.1%) more or less stagnated, foreign bookings increased by 4.8%. New orders from the euro area declined slightly by 0.6%, whereas non-eurozone clients booked 8.1% more than the year earlier. Production of the E&E industry’s companies rose by 2.9% (yoy) in December of last year. From January through December 2013 it was 2.7% lower than the year before. With 14.2 billion € the sector’s sales were 4.9% up on their pre-year level in December. With it, domestic turnover (plus 5.2% onto 7.2 billion €) and foreign turnover (plus 4.7% onto 7.0 billion €) roughly grew at equally fast rates. Sales to eurozone countries increased even stronger than those to third countries – plus 6.2% onto 2.4 billion € against plus 4.0% onto 4.6 billion €. On a preliminary basis, total sales in 2013 came to 166,3 billion € and, therefore, failed their 2012 level by 2.2%. Here domestic sales sagged by 4.5% onto 84.9 billion €, whereas foreign sales were approximately stable (plus 0.1% onto 81.4 billion €). Within the euro area turnover fell by 5.2% onto 29.5 billion €. In contrast, sales outside the eurozone rose by 3.3% onto 51.9 billion €. For 2014 the ZVEI reckons that real production will grow by 2% once again. At the same time, nominal turnover should arrive at 170 billion €.
Besides, following its increase in December of last year the business climate in the German electrical and electronic industry has risen markedly in January 2014, too. It has now arrived at its highest level for almost two years. However, the companies’ assessment of their current economic situation on the one hand and their overall expectations for the future on the other hand continue to develop differently. While the former has remained unchanged in January compared to December, the latter have increased considerably. 33% of the sector’s firms now evaluate their present situation as good, 51% as stable and 16% as bad. At the same time, 31% of the companies reckon with rising businesses in the next six months ahead. 64% and 5% of the firms expect stable and declining activities, respectively.
The level of capacity utilization within the German E&E industry has declined somewhat once again at the beginning of the 1st quarter of 2014. It came down by about one percentage point from 83.7% to 82.6% of the normal full use level and is now slightly below its long-term average value of 83%. In comparison to the 1st quarter of the preceding year, however, it is one and a half percentage points higher. The reach of unfilled orders has remained unchanged at 2.7 production months at the beginning of this year’s 1st quarter. With it, the figure continues to lie above its long-dated average. A lack of demand still remains the biggest obstacle to production – 18% of the sector’s companies name it as such. But one quarter ago there were still 20% of the firms which perceived insufficient demand as the major problem.