UPDATE 1-German exports dip, but robust orders brighten outlook

* Exports to make small contribution to Q3 growth

* Exports should grow given strong industrial orders

* Consumption remains main growth driver (Adds analyst, background)

BERLIN, Nov 9 (Reuters) - German imports fell more than exports in September to widen the country's trade surplus, data showed on Thursday, leaving domestic consumption to drive growth in Europe's largest economy.

Seasonally adjusted exports fell by 0.4 percent on the month while imports were down by 1.0 percent, data from the Federal Statistics Office showed. The contractions came after two months of growth in both exports and imports.

The figures showed that exports barely grew overall in the third quarter.

Economists said trade would not make any significant contribution to growth in the quarter, but the outlook is optimistic given the strong demand for German goods.

"Even the strong euro has not clouded the outlook for exports," said Ulrike Kastens of Sal. Oppenheim.

The German economy has been relying on consumption, state spending and construction for growth as exports wane.


But demand for German goods and services both from euro zone partners and from outside the region have kept German factories humming.

Industrial companies registered a 3.6 percent increase in orders in August after contracts for "Made in Germany" goods fell by an upwardly revised 0.4 percent in July, data this week showed.

A Reuters poll had forecast exports fell by 1.1 percent and imports rose by 0.3 percent.

The seasonally adjusted trade surplus widened to 21.8 billion euros from a downwardly revised 21.3 billion euros ($24.73 billion) in August. The September reading was higher than the Reuters consensus forecast of 21.1 billion euros.

Germany's wider current account surplus, which measures the flow of goods, services and investments, rose to 25.4 billion euros after an upwardly revised reading of 18.0 billion euros in August, unadjusted data showed.

Both exports and imports figures for August were revised down. Exports grew by 2 percent from a previous reading of 3.1 percent. Import rose by 0.8 percent instead of a previously reported increase of 1.2 percent.

($1 = 0.8613 euros) (Reporting by Joseph Nasr; Editing by Paul Carrel, Larry King)