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BERLIN: German industrial orders fell sharply in November to hit their lowest level in more than two years, official data showed on Friday, as the war in Ukraine took a toll.

New orders, which provide a foretaste of industrial output in Europe’s largest economy, sank 5.3 percent compared to the previous month to the weakest level since July 2020, federal statistics agency Destatis said.

“The data shows that industry is going through a tough winter, although companies’ business expectations recently improved,” the economy ministry said in a statement.

The plunge came after a slight rebound in October and continues a downward trend seen since the Russian invasion of Ukraine last February.

The ministry said the steep drop in orders came mainly from an 8.1 percent decline in demand from abroad, including a 10.3 percent decrease from within the European Union.

Domestic orders were down only slightly, by 1.1 percent.

Germany’s export-oriented economy has been hammered this year by the fallout from the Ukraine conflict, which has exacerbated supply chain woes and pushed up energy prices across the continent.

Leading institutes, however, have recently revised their forecasts for growth in Europe’s top economy in recent weeks and predicted that Germany would blunt or dodge a recession with relief measures that have lowered energy costs.

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