First 2011 fall in German industry orders: Berlin
German industrial orders plunged a seasonally adjusted four percent month-on-month in March, the government said on Thursday, the first fall this year.
Economists surveyed by Dow Jones had expected orders in Europe's biggest economy to be unchanged from February. Domestic orders fell 3.5 percent and by 4.3 percent from abroad, the economy ministry said.
In February, orders had climbed a revised 1.9 percent from January, compared with the previously reported 2.4-percent rise.
The figures were also adjusted for inflation and calendar effects. The ministry said that there was a significantly under-average number of large orders in March, something which might have skewed the data.
On a less volatile two-monthly comparison, orders were a seasonally adjusted 1.4 percent higher in February and March compared to December and January, the government said.
For the first quarter as a whole, orders were 2.3 percent higher than in the first three months of 2010.
"Despite the recent fall, the recovery trend is continuing," the ministry said, calling the drop in March part of a "normalisation" in Europe's top economy after the record recession of 2009 and the strong rebound last year.
© 2011 AFP