By GEIR MOULSON, Associated Press
BERLIN (AP) — Industrial orders in Germany rebounded slightly in July as higher demand at home offset another decline in orders from the debt-stricken eurozone, but the overall picture underlined mounting doubts over growth in Europe's biggest economy.
Orders in Germany rose 0.5 percent compared with the previous month. In June, orders dropped 1.6 percent — a figure that the Economy Ministry revised upward Thursday from the initial reading of 1.7 percent.
Orders from inside Germany were 1 percent higher while overall foreign orders increased by a bare 0.1 percent. New orders from other countries in the 17-nation eurozone were 0.6 percent lower.
However, despite the latest fall, the Economy Ministry said that "orders from the eurozone seem to have stabilized."
Germany's economy has been doing much better than others in the debt-troubled eurozone but there are increasing signs that it isn't immune from the region's crisis, including falling business confidence.
Industrial orders figures, a key indicator, also have been looking less healthy lately. Thursday's figures showed that total orders were 4.5 percent lower in July than a year earlier.
The biggest annual decrease in demand was from other eurozone countries, whose orders were down 12.3 percent. Orders from within Germany were down 6.3 percent; but those from outside the eurozone rose 3.6 percent, underlining the importance of still-growing emerging markets for German exports.
"During the summer months, the German economy's safety net against the euro crisis has become dangerously thinner," said Carsten Brzeski, an economist at ING in Brussels. "Order books have become smaller and at the same time companies have increased their inventories; a combination boding ill for growth in the coming months."
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