German factory orders show unexpectedly large fall in January, led by lower eurozone demand

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BERLIN — German factory orders, a key indicator for Europe's biggest economy, dropped much further than expected in January — led by a big drop in demand from other eurozone countries.

The Federal Statistical Office said Thursday orders were down 3.9 percent compared with the previous month. Economists had forecast a 1 percent decline.

The fall was led by a 9 percent drop in orders from elsewhere in the 19-nation eurozone, while domestic orders fell 2.5 percent and demand from other nations slipped 2.2 percent.

Germany's factory orders data can be volatile. The fall in January followed a 4.4 percent gain in December, revised upward Thursday from an initial reading of 4.2 percent.

The economy is in generally robust shape, with domestic demand strong and a weaker euro helping exports.

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