Berlin: New orders for the construction industry in Germany decreased in real terms by 7.7 per cent in February compared to the previous month, the Federal Statistical Office (Destatis) announced on Friday.
The decline was mainly due to the "exceptionally high" order intake in the previous month when the "highest value of orders ever measured had been recorded in January," Destatis noted.
Compared with the previous year, order intake in the German construction industry was 1.7 per cent lower in real terms in February, according to Destatis.
New orders in the sector amounted to around 6.6 billion euros ($7.1 billion) in nominal terms in February, slightly up by 0.1 per cent year-on-year, according to Destatis.
"Although construction companies started the new year with a very high order backlog, we fear that this will increasingly melt away," said general manager of the main association of the German construction industry, Dieter Babiel, on Friday.
According to a member survey by the German construction association, almost one in four construction companies in Germany already reported cancellations while 45 per cent reported falling demand or a lack of tender offers, especially at the local level.
The survey found that almost 60 per cent were "affected by coronavirus-related restrictions." In addition to construction site closures, a high level of sick leave, increasing costs due to greater organisational effort and a lack of material supplies, German construction companies were also affected by a lack of subcontractors due to border closures.
"At this point, we currently assume that our industry will only reach the nominal sales level of 2019 in 2020 as a whole," said Babiel. At the end of last year, the association had still assumed a nominal sales increase of 5.5 per cent.