German industrial orders disappoint in February

German industrial orders disappoint in February

BERLIN – Agence France-Presse
German industrial orders disappoint in February

Industrial orders in Germany rose slightly in February after a steep drop the previous month, official data showed on April 5, pointing to lost momentum in Europe’s largest economy.

As fears of a global trade war persist, new contracts for industrial firms climbed just 0.3 percent month-on-month, federal statistics authority Destatis said, after a 3.5-percent fall in January according to corrected data.

The figure fell short of expectations from analysts polled by Factset who expected a 1.5-percent increase.

In a year-on-year comparison, February saw 3.5 percent more new contracts.

Foreign and domestic business nearly cancelled each other out, with orders from abroad gaining 1.4 percent and orders from within Germany declining at the same rate.

Capital goods firms booked most of the gains with a 0.9 percent rise while consumer goods makers saw a precipitous 2.4-percent decrease in contracts.

“The trend shows significantly weaker growth in contracts,” the economy ministry said in a separate statement.

The government economists highlighted that comparing January plus February to the two previous months showed a fall in orders of 2.1 percent due to weak domestic demand.

But the robust global economy should keep orders for German industrial goods flowing in, the ministry said.

Economist Carsten Brzeski of ING Diba bank said the German data “provide additional evidence of a weak start” to the first quarter although “the near term outlook looks still rosy”.

Ralph Solveen of Commerzbank said the report “shows that the recent decline in leading indicators is probably not only a correction to the previous sharp rise”.

“However, the upswing is certainly not yet over,” he added.

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