German order book slump dashes hopes of manufacturing sector rebound. (picture alliance / dpa)
German factory orders posted a surprise fall in October amid a sharp contraction in domestic demand, underlining the downturn in the nation's key manufacturing sector.
Industrial order books in Europe's biggest economy shrunk by 0.4 per cent in October from a gain of 1.5 per cent in September, the Ministry for Economic Affairs said on Thursday. Analysts had forecast a modest 0.4-per-cent rise.
"As a result, hopes for a stabilization of new orders have been significantly dampened," said Commerzbank economist Christoph Weil. Year-on-year, new orders plunged 5.5 per cent in October.
German manufacturing has been hit by the US-China trade war, the global uncertainty unleashed by Britain's Brexit crisis and the extensive restructuring under way in the nation's car sector.
Conditions in the manufacturing industry remained weak, the ministry said releasing the data.
"The outlook for the manufacturing sector in the final quarter of the year consequently remains subdued," the ministry said.
Leading the October fall was a hefty 3.2-per-cent slump in domestic orders, which cancelled out a 1.5-per-cent rise in foreign orders, the ministry said.
The jump in foreign orders followed a whopping 11.1-per-cent rise in demand from Germany's key trading partners in the 19-member eurozone thanks to a large number of bulk orders. But orders outside the eurozone were down 4.1 per cent.
The German economy grew by a meagre 0.1 per cent in the three months to September, consequently narrowly escaping a recession.
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