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Industrial orders in Germany down unexpectedly in May


Orders for Germany’s industrial goods dropped unexpectedly in May, led by a fall in demand from other countries in the euro area and at home, official data showed Friday.

Orders were down 1.3 per cent compared with the previous month, the Economy Ministry said. That contrasted with economists’ forecast of a 1.2 per cent increase.

Orders from elsewhere in the group of 17 European Union countries that use the euro declined 3.9 per cent, while orders from inside Germany dropped 2 per cent. But demand from countries outside the eurozone rose 1.1 per cent.

It was the second consecutive drop for the country, following a 2.2 per cent decline in April. The ministry pointed to fluctuations in the number of large orders, which it said were below average in May, as one source of volatility over recent months.

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Without bulk orders, the general direction “remains upward, if less clearly than before,” it said in a statement.

Germany has Europe’s biggest economy and so far has weathered the continent’s debt crisis well—helped by its traditional export strength and a robust job market that is fueling domestic demand.

Friday’s numbers are disappointing but “have to be taken with a pinch of salt,” said Carsten Brzeski, an economist at ING in Brussels. May had an unusually high number of public holidays this year, which probably blurred the picture to some extent, he said.