German February Machine Orders Unchanged as Europe Demand Falls

German plant and machinery orders were unchanged in February as domestic demand compensated for a drop abroad, the VDMA machine-makers association said today.

Orders, adjusted for inflation, were at the same level as a year ago in February after decreasing an annual 2 percent in January, VDMA said in an e-mailed statement. Domestic orders increased 2 percent while orders from abroad fell 1 percent from a year ago.

Political turmoil in Italy and a bailout in Cyprus are rekindling doubts that the 17-member euro area is taming the debt crisis, threatening the economic recovery. The Bundesbank still forecasts that Germany’s economy, Europe’s largest, will return to growth in this quarter after contracting in the final three months of last year.

“Foreign orders were burdened by rather weak demand from the euro area, while demand from outside the single currency stagnated,” said Ralph Wiechers, VDMA’s chief economist. “Thanks to bulk orders, domestic demand managed to record a small plus.”

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