Germany on the brink of a major downturn as manufacturers are hit by huge slump in orders

Slump: German factory orders were 8.4 per cent lower in February than they had been a year earlier

Slump: German factory orders were 8.4 per cent lower in February than they had been a year earlier

German manufacturers have been hit by a huge slump in orders, prompting fears Europe’s largest economy faces a major downturn.

Factory orders were 8.4 per cent lower in February than they had been a year earlier – which experts described as ‘devastating’.

The results prompted comparisons with the financial crisis in 2008, and sparked fears the European Central Bank may have to act to prevent a full-blown recession.

Carsten Brzeski of Dutch bank ING said: ‘The negative reading is that the German industry should prepare for more bad news.’

Pantheon Macroeconomics’s Claus Visten said the figures are ‘terrible – a mini-review of the horror show in 2008’.

And Naeem Aslam of Think Markets said that the ECB might have to respond with more money-printing or higher interest rates.

Meanwhile, Germany’s economic institutes cut their joint forecasts for growth this year from 1.9 per cent to just 0.8 per cent.

Oliver Holtemoeller, an economist who was involved in the decision, said: ‘The long-term upswing of the German economy has come to an end.’



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