FRANKFURT -- Falling export demand hit Germany's key mechanical engineering sector in April, the VDMA industry federation said on Monday.
The manufacture of machine tools is an important part of Germany's industrial and export performance.
Germany, which has a huge trade surplus, has the biggest and strongest economy in Europe, and although recent indicators show that it is still generating firm growth, this latest wobble for the machine-tool sector fits a recent pattern of unsteady signals.
In April, overall incoming orders were down by 1% compared with the level in April last year, VDMA said, with export orders falling by 4%, while domestic orders were up by 8%.
Taking a three-month comparison to iron out short-term fluctuations, overall orders were down by 4% in the period from February to April.
Foreign orders fell by 7% in the three-month period, but domestic orders rose by 5%.
Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2014