Retailers hit by shortfall in Japanese imports

German retailers are reporting the first shortfalls in imports of electronic goods from Japan, two months after a devastating earthquake crippled factories there.

Retailers hit by shortfall in Japanese imports
Photo: DPA

“There are shortages and waiting lists in the photography and multimedia areas – particularly newer models.” a spokesman for the business cooperation Electronic Partner told the financial weekly Wirtschaftswoche.

“We’re seeing the first shortages in the photography area,” Benedict Kober, head of the electronics retailer Euronics, confirmed. “Not all the models are available. A lot of the cameras that we’re selling at the moment are coming from our own back-up stores.”

He added that the supply of smartphones was also depleted.

Japanese camera-maker Nikon has informed its German representatives that it currently can’t deliver two of its new cameras, while the German headquarters of electronics giant Sony Ericsson has also reported that its import quantities are being reduced.

Mobile phone maker Nokia has said that it expects profits to drop in the second and third quarters of this year.


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Southern Germany rattled by earthquake

A slight earthquake shook parts of southern Germany in the early hours of Monday.

Southern Germany rattled by earthquake
Photo: DPA

The epicentre of the earthquake, which had a magnitude of 3.8, was north of Albstadt in the Zollernalbkreis district, halfway between Stuttgart and Lake Constance, the southwest earthquake service reported. 

The tremors happened at 1.59am on Monday and were felt within a radius of about 30 kilometres.

The police in Tuttlingen reported that several residents called them during the night about the earthquake.  So far, no damage has been reported to the police.

Earthquakes with a magnitude between 2.5 and 5.4 on the Richter scale can often be felt and if they cause damage, it is usually only minor.

This summer a series of minor earthquakes have happened around the Lake Constance region. The strongest earthquake reached a magnitude of 3.7 and happened at the end of July.

Germany is situated in the middle of the Eurasian Plate and isn't particularly prone to huge earthquakes, but there are still some tremors recorded here. The country is transected by parts of the European Cenozoic Rift System, particularly in the Upper and Lower Rhine areas and these remain active today.

Most of the quakes occur in this area but there are also zones around the northern edge of the Alps, Lake Constance and in the Leipzig plain.

The map below shows the most at-risk zones in Germany. The red zones have the highest risk of earthquakes.

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

However, earthquakes can also cause major damage in Germany. That was demonstrated by the tremors registered in April 1992 in the border region between Germany and the Netherlands. The so-called Roermond earthquake had a magnitude of 5.3 and caused damage costing millions.

An earthquake in Albstadt in September 1978 was similar –- at that time the magnitude 5.7 was registered on the Richter scale.