Germany’s factory orders declined unexpectedly in March on weak foreign demand, figures from Destatis revealed Monday.
Factory orders dropped 0.9 percent month-on-month in March, bigger than the revised 0.2 percent decrease in February. Orders were expected to climb 0.5 percent after falling for three straight months.
Domestic orders rebounded 1.5 percent, while foreign demand fell 2.6 percent in March.
Excluding major bookings, new orders decreased 0.1 percent on the month in March.
On a yearly basis, growth in factory orders rose slightly to 3.1 percent from 3 percent in February. Economists had forecast orders to grow 5 percent in March.
Data showed that manufacturing turnover gained 0.4 percent on the month in March, in contrast to a revised 2.4 percent drop in February.
The economy ministry said despite the slight slowdown in first quarter orders, industrial activity is likely to remain upward.
Commerzbank analyst Ralph Solveen said after what is probably a rather weak first quarter, the economy should continue to grow more slowly in the further course of the year than in the previous year, even if the upswing is not yet over.
Elsewhere, the Purchasing Managers’ survey from IHS Markit showed that Germany’s construction activity returned to growth in April after severe weather had caused disruption to building work at the end of the first quarter.
The construction Purchasing Managers’ Index rose to 50.9 in April from 47.0 in March.
The sector had contracted for the first time in over three years in March. Although the score remained above 50, this was the second-lowest seen for just under two years.