Order intake of German machine manufacturers declined by 4 percent in February year-on-year, the Mechanical Engineering Industry Association (VDMA) stated on Friday.
"The real extent of the consequences of the coronavirus pandemic in the mechanical engineering sector will only become apparent in the order figures for March and the following months," said VDMA chief economist Ralph Wiechers, warning that "this is the calm before the storm."
While orders from domestic customers fell by 6 percent in February, international orders were only down 3 percent, according to VDMA.
Rising demand from Eurozone countries, which had gone up 5 percent, had been able to "partially compensate" the notable decline in orders from non-euro countries, which fell by 7 percent, VDMA data showed.
Liquidity would be "vital for survival" during the coronavirus crisis, VDMA said. "We appeal to all banks to pool their resources even more to provide the industry with liquidity in the crisis," said VDMA Executive Director Thilo Brodtmann.
"In the March figures, we will clearly see the consequences of the spread of the virus," said Wiechers. According to VDMA, 84 percent of its members had reported noticeable or even serious order losses at the end of March.