Although businesses in Germany remain upbeat, domestic factory orders fell last month, signaling weakening demand for goods made in Europe's largest economy. Industry leaders call on the government for policy changes.
Domestic factory orders dropped by 7 percent in February compared with the previous month, while demand abroad stagnated, data showed on Wednesday.
The decline in overall industrial orders was 3 percent, said the German Engineering Association (VDMA).
"The weakening domestic demand shows that we are not being dazzled by a record number of exports," VDMA chief Thilo Brodtmann said, adding that it's "increasingly clear" that foreign demand for German goods is dwindling.
Industry leaders were disappointed with the latest figures, since German factories booked 4 percent more orders during the December to February period, with increased demand from abroad. And price-adjusted new orders in German factory output had jumped at the end of last year.
VDMA is calling on the German government for more investment in the industrial sector, particularly for small to mid-sized firms.
"The weak domestic figures are a warning signal to politicians," Brodtmann said.
From 2013 to 2014, exports to the eurozone - sill the largest market for German products - fell from 36.9 to 36.6 percent. Last year, Germany exported goods worth a total of 1.13 trillion euros ($1.21 trillion) to the 19-member bloc.
But the overall share of German exports to the eurozone has dwindled in the last 10 years due to ongoing crises in key eurozone countries. Exports to booming economies like the UK and Poland, on the other hand, have risen.
el/ng (dpa, Reuters)