German industrial orders grow slightly in May, reversing trend

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A steel worker of Germany's industrial conglomerate ThyssenKrupp AG stands a mid of emitting sparks of raw iron from a blast furnace at Germany's largest steel factory in Duisburg, Germany. REUTERS/Wolfgang Rattay

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BERLIN, July 6 (Reuters) - German industrial orders grew slightly in May, beating expectations and reversing a trend after three consecutive months of decline due to the war in Ukraine, data showed on Wednesday.

Orders for industrial goods increased by 0.1% on the month in seasonally adjusted terms after an upwardly revised decline of 1.8% in April, figures from the Federal Statistical Office showed.

A Reuters poll of analysts had pointed to a decrease of 0.6% on the month in May.

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Despite the stabilization, the Economy Ministry did not see cause for optimism, citing continued uncertainty caused by the Ukraine war and the threat of a freeze in Russian gas supplies.

Foreign manufacturing orders grew 1.3% in May compared with the previous month, with new orders from the non-euro area up 3.7%. That contrasted with a slump in domestic orders of 1.5% and a fall in new euro-area orders of 2.4%.

The industry is not lacking orders, but rather preliminary products such as computer chips, Alexander Krueger, chief economist at Hauck Aufhaeuser Lampe private bank, said.

"The situation is unlikely to improve until gas supplies are secured and supply disruptions ease," he added.

According to the ifo institute, 75.7% of retailers reported not receiving all the goods they ordered in June, and many are bracing for supply problems to persist until the middle of 2023.

"Supply problems have become a chronic issue for retailers," ifo economist Klaus Wohlrabe said.

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Reporting by Miranda Murray and Rene Wagner, editing by Kirsti Knolle and Andrew Heavens

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