German machine tool builders’ new orders rose 4% during December 2012, compared to the December 2011 result, paced by improvements in domestic demand (1%) as well as exports (4%). The results were released by VDMA, the German machine tool builders trade and policy association.

However, for the year as a whole (January to December 2012) VDMA concluded that growth averaged -3% versus the FY2011 results. Domestic orders dropped 8% versus 2011, while foreign orders “stagnated,” the group announced.

Still, the recent results from Germany presents a more positive view of global machine tool demand than a similar report from the Italian machine tool builders’ trade association. In the VDMA report, orders from the EU were particularly notable during December.

Moreover, during the final quarter of 2012 (October-December), VDMA recorded new orders increased 3% versus results from the last quarter of 2011. German domestic orders fell by 1% during Q4 (versus Q4 2011), and orders from abroad during that period rose 4%.

“In December the German engineering industry saw the order inflow returning to the positive growth rates of September and October,” VDMA chief economist Ralph Wiechers reported. “This time, it was mainly the demand from the Euro partner countries that boosted foreign orders.

“Domestic orders recorded rather poor results compared with the previous year,” Wiechers continued, “though, the order curve shows that domestic orders struggled vigorously to make up summer losses.

“Over the full fiscal year 2012 growth averaged at -3%, a respectable performance given the challenging economic conditions,” Wiechers concluded.