For our IR Optics business excluding HIGHYAG in the U.S., orders from the domestic OEMs decreased 11% quarter-over-quarter. This decrease was a result of timing of orders and a decrease in the low-power market. High power OEM orders remained flat quarter-over-quarter, which we feel will continue through the first half of fiscal year '13. The North American aftermarket experienced a 5% decrease quarter-over-quarter suggesting laser utilization is slipping. Based on survey feedback from the market, we feel the North American aftermarket will continue at the current pace for the next 2 quarters.
European bookings for the fourth quarter were down 5% quarter-over-quarter but up 15% compared to the fourth quarter of '11. We are starting to see signs of unfavorable economic conditions affecting the high power OEMs. European aftermarket was down 16% quarter-over-quarter. Asian bookings were down 25% quarter-over-quarter with all areas in Asia contributing to this decline. In Japan, the high power business has softened. This was combined with the low power business already down and resulted in the quarter-over-quarter drop in bookings.
Economic conditions and the strong yen are making it difficult for sales outside Japan resulting in the lower machine builds. China bookings dropped 15% quarter-over-quarter and were down 22% compared to the fourth quarter of '11. The China economy continues to grow but at a slower pace and our largest OEM customer has experienced a significant drop in orders which has impacted bookings. We are actively pursuing new end-user customers and the results have been encouraging. We expect economic conditions to improve in China towards the end of the first half of FY '13.
In summary, our IR Optics business segment including HIGHYAG, continuous to see bookings pressure driven by worldwide economic conditions which have impacted our business over the past several weeks. The reduction in laser utilization has impacted Asia while U.S. and European markets have been flat.
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