German factory orders unexpectedly fell in February in a sign that a global trade slowdown is weighing on Europe’s largest economy.
Orders, adjusted for seasonal swings and inflation, dropped 1.2 percent from the prior month, when they rose a revised 0.5 percent, data from the Economy Ministry in Berlin showed on Tuesday. The reading, which is typically volatile, compares with a median estimate for an increase of 0.3 percent in a Bloomberg survey. Orders climbed 0.5 percent from a year earlier.
While Germany corporate confidence improved last month because of robust domestic demand, exporters are struggling with a China-led slowdown in emerging markets. Bundesbank warned last month that the nation’s growth momentum could slow in the second quarter as weakening exports prompt companies to curb output and hiring.
“Orders in the manufacturing sector developed slowly at the beginning of the year,” the ministry said in a press release. “This reflects the sluggish development of the global economy.”
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