German industrial orders, a key measure of demand for goods in Europe's top economy, fell again in February, the economy ministry said Wednesday, disappointing analysts who had hoped for a rebound.
Provisional official data showed a 0.9-percent month-on-month decline, following a sharp 2.6-percent drop in January, according to revised figures.
Analysts polled by financial services firm FactSet had pencilled in growth of 1.5 percent for February.
For the three-month period covering December, January and February, which economists say provides a more accurate picture, factory orders rose 0.5 percent compared to the previous three months.
However "momentum has slowed compared to the previous months, in particular in terms of orders from abroad. It is mainly orders from Germany providing the positive effect," the economy said in a statement.
It added the the number of bulk orders had declined compared to the end of 2014.
"But as a whole, the trend in German industry remains one of modest growth," the ministry added, pointing to strong confidence indicators.
Christian Schulz of Berenberg bank in London said the data did "not pose a serious risk" to its forecast of 0.6 percent gross domestic product growth in Germany for the first quarter.
"German manufacturers benefit from the firming demand in the eurozone and the weak euro elsewhere, as well as the aggressive ECB easing and fading risks," he said.
"But the strongest growth driver at the moment is domestic demand and especially cheap-oil-fuelled private consumption."
Economist Carsten Brzeski of ING-DiBa called the data an "unexpected disappointment".
"Compared with the start of last year, the industry is still treading water," he said.
However the weak euro and brimming order books should provide a boost in the coming months.
"If past performances are any guide for the future, German exporters can start rubbing their hands," he said.