German industrial orders stable in April


July 15, 2010 Updated Jun 8, 2009 at 7:01 AM CDT

German industrial orders, a key indicator in Europe's biggest economy, were unchanged in April compared with the previous month, the economy ministry said on Monday.

Orders had risen in March for the first time in six months, and the ministry said the stability demonstrated a "noticeable improvement in the medium-term perspective" for German industries.

The country's export-driven economy has been slammed by the global economic downturn, and the German central bank forecast Friday that it would shrink by 6.2 percent this year.

That was slightly worse than the government's official forecast of a 6.0 percent contraction in business activity.

Commerzbank economist Ralph Solveen said Monday that the bank's "Early Bird indicator" for the economy had improved marginally in May, but that "it is well within positive territory, suggesting at the very least that the downturn is losing considerable momentum."

"For gross domestic product at least, therefore, the worst should now be over," Solveen said.

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