German factory orders drop unexpectedly

Staff Writer
Columbus CEO

BERLIN (AP) — German factory orders plunged unexpectedly in March as demand for capital and consumer goods slumped both domestically and abroad, particularly from other nations using the euro, and the economy ministry cautioned the crisis in Ukraine could contribute to further weakness.

The ministry said Wednesday that March industrial orders dropped 2.8 percent over February, the largest monthly fall since November 2012. Economists had predicted a slight rise, following an upwardly revised 0.9 percent February gain.

Domestic orders fell 0.6 percent, while foreign orders were down 4.6 percent, led by a 9.4 percent drop from eurozone countries.

Despite the decline, the economy ministry says an upward trend remains intact, though it "could weaken somewhat."

It warned in particular that companies might show "temporary restraint in ordering activity due to current geopolitical events."