Eurozone industrial orders have slumped at record speed, setting the stage for 2009 becoming one of the worst years for the region’s economy since the second world war.

New industrial orders in the 15-country region dropped by 4.7% in October, following a revised 5.4% fall in September, Eurostat, the European Union’s statistical office, reported yesterday.

October’s orders were 15.1% lower than a year before – the sharpest drop since at least 1995, when comparable records began. Leading the decline, motor vehicle orders were more than 30% lower in October than a year before, Eurostat said.

With orders data proving early warning signals of likely trends in economic activities, economists have become increasingly gloomy about 2009.

Financial Times