Industrial orders in Germany dropped unexpectedly in May, led by a drop in demand from other countries in the euro area.

The Economy Ministry said today that orders were down 1.3% compared with the previous month. Economists had predicted a 1.2% increase. It was the second consecutive drop, after a 2.2% decline in April.

The ministry said there was a below-average number of large orders in May.

Orders from elsewhere in the euro zone declined 3.9%, while orders from inside Germany dropped 2%. But demand from countries outside the euro zone rose 1.1%.

Germany has Europe's biggest economy and so far has weathered the debt crisis well - helped by its traditional export strength and a robust job market that fueled domestic demand.