Factory orders for German firms have declined far more than analysts have expected. A report by the Economics Ministry in Berlin attributed the marked drop to continuously low demand in the euro area.
German Industrial orders in April fell more than twice as forecast by analysts, the Economics Ministry reported June 6. Monthly factory order books contracted by 2.3 percent, thus completely cancelling out all gains a month earlier.
Economists viewed the figures as a sign that Europe's biggest economy was still struggling to gain momentum after a protracted winter and recession in the eurozone.
All in all, factory orders suggest that manufacturing activity in Germany has started the second quarter on a soft tone after the surprising resilience registered in the first three months of the year," said Newedge Strategy analyst Annalisa Piazza.
Leading the drop in April was a 3.2-percent fall in domestic orders. Demand from abroad dipped 1.5 percent, with orders from the debt-stricken euro area declining by 3.6 percent.
Nonetheless, the ministry expressed confidence that German industry was slowly emerging after an unsatisfactory start to the year. It pointed out that orders were up 2.3 percent in March and April combined, if compared to the January-to-February period.
"This suggests that German industry is gradually overcoming its weakness," the ministry commented.
hg/dr (dpa, AFP)