Industrial orders in Germany, a key gauge of the future trend in Europe's top economy, plunged in August, according to official data published on Friday, as demand from within the country fell sharply.
The economy ministry said that industrial orders fell by 1.3% in August from July, adding to evidence that Europe's economic engine is losing steam as the eurozone debt crisis weighs.
The decline was more pronounced than the 0.5% drop analysts surveyed by Dow Jones Newswires had predicted.
The drop was due to a dip in domestic demand, which fell by 3%. Foreign orders were stable on the month.
"Orders for German industry have weakened, as expected in an overall weaker economic environment," the ministry said.
"At the same time, we are not getting a picture of a strong decline in economic activity," added the statement.
Orders rose by 0.3% in July, a downward revision from the 0.5% originally published.
Over the two-month period July-August, orders were down 1.2% compared to May-June, again due to a drop in domestic orders.
Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2012