German factory orders sag in May after previous month's rise, but eurozone demand higher

BERLIN – German factory orders sagged in May after a strong increase the previous month, driven down by lower demand inside the country and from outside the euro area.

The Federal Statistical Office said Friday that industrial orders were 1.7 per cent lower than in April, when they rose 3.4 per cent. That figure was revised up from an initial reading of 3.1 per cent; economists had expected a shallower 1.1 per cent drop in May.

Orders from inside Germany dropped 2.5 per cent and those from countries outside the eurozone fell 5.2 per cent. However, there was a 5.7 per cent increase in demand from other countries in the 18-nation eurozone.

Germany’s economy is expected to grow nearly 2 per cent this year after expanding by 0.4 per cent in 2013. Still, hard economic data have sent mixed signals.