German industrial orders unexpectedly drop 1.9 percent in January as eurozone demand slides

Industrial orders in Germany, Europe's biggest economy, declined unexpectedly in January as demand for its exports dropped sharply.

The Economy Ministry said Thursday that orders were down 1.9 percent compared with the previous month.

Economists had expected an increase of 0.6 percent, following a gain of 1.1 percent in December. The December figure was revised up from the initial reading of 0.8 percent.

The Economy Ministry says the number of large orders was well below average in January. The decline was led by a 4.1 percent drop in demand from the other 16 European Union countries that use the euro, several of which are in recession — reversing a gain the previous month.

Orders from abroad were down 3 percent overall while demand from inside Germany slipped by 0.6 percent.