Industrial orders in November edged up 0.2% from the October, much less than expected, provisional data showed on Jan. 7, as Europe's biggest economy struggles to climb out of recession.
Economists polled by Dow Jones Newswires had expected a gain of 1.4% following a decline in October that was revised to 1.9% from an initial figure of 2.1%.
On a two-month basis meant to smooth out exceptional spikes in the data, industrial orders fell 1.2% in October and November from the August-September period, the economy ministry said.
"The recovery process has lost momentum at the moment," it added. Germany is striving to pull out of its worst post-war recession which is likely to have seen the economy contract by around 5% in 2009.
The ministry noted that slumping demand in the auto sector was a key factor in the weaker trend. A cash-for-clunkers scrapping bonus that boosted auto sales last year expired in September and similar measures in many countries that import German cars are also winding down.
Meanwhile, "the trend in demand for investment goods is not clear at the moment," the ministry said in reference to goods used to produce final products, a sector in which many German companies specialize.
Officials pointed nonetheless to "a positive underlying trend in the manufacturing industry."
Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2010