Weak demand from domestic and euro zone clients led to a fourth monthly drop in a row in German industrial orders in April.
The figures suggest that factories in Europe's largest economy will shift into a lower gear over coming months.
Contracts for German goods were down 2.5% from March after a downwardly revised drop of 1.1% the previous month, the Federal Statistics Office data showed.
The April reading significantly undershot a Reuters poll of analysts, who had predicted a 0.8% rise.
The decline was driven by a drop in domestic demand, though orders from clients in other euro zone countries also fell.
A sector breakdown of the figures showed demand for capital and consumer goods fell while demand for intermediate goods rose.
The release followed a string of strong economic data that included retail sales posting a bigger-than-expected jump in April, unemployment reaching a record low in May and business morale steadying despite the threat of a global trade war.
Germany's VDMA industry association said earlier this week that engineering orders had jumped 12% in April compared to a year before, with surging domestic demand offsetting a drop in contracts from euro zone partners.
The German economy grew 0.3% on the quarter in the first three months of the year and is expected to pick up speed in the April-June period.
For 2018 as a whole, the German government is forecasting 2.3% growth.