Industrial orders in Germany, Europe's biggest economy, declined unexpectedly in January as demand for its exports dropped sharply.
The Economy Ministry said that orders were down 1.9% compared with the previous month.
Economists had expected an increase of 0.6%, following a gain of 1.1% in December.
The December figure was revised up from the initial reading of 0.8%.
The Economy Ministry says the number of large orders was well below average in January.
The decline was led by a 4.1% drop in demand from the other 16 European Union countries that use the euro, several of which are in recession - reversing a gain the previous month.
Orders from abroad were down 3% overall while demand from inside Germany slipped by 0.6%.