Industrial orders in Europe's powerhouse keep dropping, fresh figures have shown. Demand for German goods decreased considerably in eurozone nations, with buyers in non-EU countries only partly offsetting the fall.
Weaker demand from domestic and fellow eurozone clients led to a fourth straight monthly drop in German industrial orders in April, the Federal Statistics Office (Destatis) reported Thursday.
Contracts for German goods were down 2.5 percent from March, suggesting factories in Europe's largest economy are likely to shift into a lower gear in the coming months after removing the current backlog.
Orders from Germany's neighbors in the eurozone dropped by 9.9 percent month on month, while domestic contracts fell by 4.8 percent.
One bright spot were orders from further afield, with demand from the rest of the world increasing by 5.4 percent, Destatis said.
The overall drop in industrial orders disappointed analysts who'd penciled in a slight pickup on the back of a raft of strong economic indicators, including rising retail sales and record-low unemployment.
Industry organizations suggested the downturn may have been caused by growing uncertainties over looming trade conflicts.
But they also mentioned other fears hanging over Germany's and Europe's economy, ranging from the big spending plans of Italy's new government that may plunge the eurozone into another crisis, to stalled progress in negotiations over Britain's 2019 departure from the EU.
hg/jd (Reuters, AFP, dpa)