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German factory orders start to slow in May after strong increase

BERLIN--German factory orders sagged in May after a strong increase the previous month, driven down by lower demand inside the country and from outside the euro area.

The Federal Statistical Office said Friday that industrial orders were 1.7 percent lower than in April, when they rose 3.4 percent. That figure was revised up from an initial reading of 3.1 percent; economists had expected a shallower 1.1 percent drop in May.

Orders from inside Germany dropped 2.5 percent and those from countries outside the eurozone fell 5.2 percent. However, there was a 5.7 percent increase in demand from other countries in the 18-nation eurozone.

Germany's economy is expected to grow nearly 2 percent this year after expanding by 0.4 percent in 2013. Still, hard economic data have sent mixed signals.

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