German machine tool manufacturers seeing record sales

According to the national German newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, German machine-tool makers expect production and sales to increase to record highs next year even as rising oil prices and the stronger euro dampen export demand.

Production in the machinery sector, which sells three quarters of its output abroad, may rise 5 percent next year to 190 billion euros ($301 billion US dollars), the newspaper said, quoting Manfred Wittenstein, president of VDMA, a non-profit organization representing German machinery and industrial equipment manufacturers. Sales are expected to increase by the same margin.

Machinery makers created 20,000 jobs in the first half of 2008, pushing total employment in the sector close to 1 million.

The Frankfurt-based VDMA said that plant and machinery orders fell 12 percent in May, the biggest drop since March 2005. Export and domestic orders both fell 12 percent.

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