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Germany: factory orders unexpectedly lower in February

BERLIN – Factory orders in Germany, a key indicator for Europe’s biggest economy, fell unexpectedly in February because of lower foreign demand and a below-average number of bulk orders.

The Economy Ministry said Tuesday orders were down 1.2 per cent compared with the previous month. Economists had expected a 0.2 per cent gain. However, the January figure was revised significantly to show a 0.5 per cent gain rather than the 0.1 per cent decline originally reported.

The ministry said orders from inside Germany were up 0.9 per cent but foreign demand dropped 2.7 per cent. That was led by a 3.7 per cent decline in orders from other eurozone countries.

ING-DiBa economist Carsten Brzeski described the data as “another piece of evidence that the German industry is treading water, as it is suffering from a cooling of global activity.”