Orders for German-made goods fell more than expected in December, ending a seven-month streak of positive data as restrictions to contain the coronavirus dragged down demand from other euro zone countries.
The figures published by the Federal Statistics Offices showed orders for industrial goods dropped by 1.9% in seasonally adjusted terms.
This compared with a Reuters forecast for a decline of 1%.
The decline came after an upwardly revised increase of 2.7% in November and was the first time the indicator had fallen since April.
"After the party comes the hangover," Thomas Gitzel, Chief Economist at VP Bank Group, said.
"The harsh containment measures in Europe are now having a clearly negative impact in December," he added.
Germany's export-oriented manufacturers had so far been spared the worst of coronavirus restrictions, while domestically driven services had suffered.
Figures from the Economy Ministry showed domestic orders fell by 0.9% on the month while orders from abroad decreased by 2.6%. Contracts from the euro zone tumbled by 7.5%.
"New orders in the manufacturing sector fell somewhat in December in the face of the tighter lockdown," the Economy Ministry said in a statement.
But it noted that fourth-quarter orders still exceeded their year-earlier pre-pandemic level by almost 5%.