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German industrial orders perk up in March

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Berlin (AFP)

German manufacturing firms reported a slight rebound in new orders in March, official data showed Tuesday thanks to increased demand from eurozone neighbours and more large contracts.

Used by experts as an weathervane for future industrial activity, the indicator added 0.6 percent in March after a 4.0-percent slide in February, federal statistics authority Destatis said.

But the bounce back fell short of expectations from analysts surveyed by Factset, who had bet on a 1.5-percent month-on-month rise.

What's more, "without taking into account large contracts, new orders were 1.9 percent lower in March" when adjusted for price, seasonal and calendar effects -- hinting at a continuing overall downward trend.

"Overall, the state of orders in manufacturing points to continuing subdued development in industry over the coming months," the economy ministry in Berlin said in a separate statement.

Looking in detail at the orders data, domestic demand ebbed by 4.2 percent, while foreign contracts increased by the same amount.

Most of that boost was powered by demand from eurozone countries, which added 8.6 percent where the rest of the world managed just 1.4.

Producer goods makers continued to suffer with a small decrease in orders, while capital goods and consumer goods firms both saw more contracts.

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