Industrial orders in Germany, a key gauge of the future trend in Europe's top economy, plunged in August, according to official data published on Friday, as demand from within the country fell sharply.
The economy ministry said in a statement that industrial orders fell by 1.3 percent in August from July, adding to evidence that Europe's economic engine is losing steam as the eurozone debt crisis weighs.
The decline was more pronounced than the 0.5 percent drop analysts surveyed by Dow Jones Newswires had predicted.
The drop was due to a dip in domestic demand, which fell by 3.0 percent. Foreign orders were stable on the month.
"Orders for German industry have weakened, as expected in an overall weaker economic environment," the ministry said in a statement.
"At the same time, we are not getting a picture of a strong decline in economic activity," added the statement.
Orders rose by 0.3 percent in July, a downward revision from the 0.5 percent originally published.
Over the two-month period July-August, orders were down 1.2 percent compared to May-June, again due to a drop in domestic orders.