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Euro zone industrial new orders continue to drop in December

  The euro zone industrial new orders index plunged in December by 5.2% month on month, Eurostat, the European Union’s statistics office, said Tuesday.

In November, the industrial new orders index in the 16-nation zone fell by 5.4% from the previous month. The euro zone index in December dropped by 22.3% year on year after posting a record drop of 26.2% in November, Eurostat said.

Excluding ships, railway and aerospace equipment, for which changes tend to be more volatile, industrial new orders fell by 4.7% in the euro zone. It was down by 3.4% in November.

In the 27-nation EU, industrial new orders plummeted by 6.4% in December after dropping by 5.1% in November. The index in the EU dropped by 23.3% year on year following a decrease of 25.4% in the previous month.

Year on year, the total industry, excluding ships, railway and aerospace equipment, dropped 22.1% in the euro zone and 21.2% in the EU. Compared with 2007, the average new orders index for 2008 fell by 5.0% in the euro zone and by 4.9% in the EU.

In December, orders for basic metals and fabricated metal products in the euro zone recorded the largest monthly drop of 10.01%, while orders for transport equipment fell by 4.6% month on month. Manufacturing of machinery and equipment declined by 12.3%.

New orders for chemicals and chemical products decreased by 4.3% and manufacturing of electrical and electronic equipment fell by 1.7%. New orders for textiles and textile products dipped by 0.5% after growing by 1.6% in November.

Among the member states for which data were available for December, total manufacturing working on orders fell in 16 countries and rose only in four on a monthly basis. The largest decrease was recorded in the Netherlands with a drop of 15.1%.

In annual changes, total manufacturing working on orders fell in all the member states for which data were available. The most significant falls were registered in Hungary (minus 37.2%), Slovakia (minus 35.0%), the Netherlands (minus 31.1%) and Spain (minus 30.3%). (Xinhua)