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German Manufacturing Orders Drop on Weak Demand

German manufacturing orders dropped 0.5 percent in February from the previous month due to weaker foreign demand, the government said Friday. The decline comes as the euro hovers near an all-time high against the U.S. dollar.

The Economy Ministry said that data showed a weakening in demand from abroad, while domestic demand remained stable. The drop was well below the 0.7 percent rise predicted by economists polled by Dow Jones Newswires.

"The weakening comes predominantly from abroad," the ministry said in a statement. "Domestic demand continues to prove itself robust and remains above the level of the strong fourth quarter of 2007."

On the year, orders rose 9 percent on an unadjusted basis in February, above economists' forecast of a 6.7 percent rise.

Overall, foreign orders fell 1.1 percent in February from January, on a seasonally adjusted basis. Domestic demand was unchanged. Foreign orders from non-euro-zone countries fell 1.9 percent, while demand from the euro-zone was also unchanged.

The 15-nation euro currency hit an all-time high of US$1.5904 last month and has remained near that level since, making exports from Germany and other eurozone nations more expensive in the U.S. and other foreign markets.