German factory orders unexpectedly declined for a second month in May, signaling an uncertain recovery in Europe’s largest economy as the euro area struggles to emerge from its longest-ever recession.

Orders (GRIORTMM), adjusted for seasonal swings and inflation, dropped 1.3 percent from April, when they fell a revised 2.2 percent, the Economy Ministry in Berlin said today. Economists forecast a gain of 1.2 percent, according to the median of 42 estimates in a Bloomberg News survey. Orders slid 2 percent from a year ago, when adjusted for the number of working days.

The European Central Bank yesterday gave what it called “unprecedented” forward guidance by saying interest rates in the euro area, Germany’s biggest export market, will stay low for an extended period of time. ECB President Mario Draghi said the risks to the region’s economy, which contracted in the six quarters through March, are on the downside. He reaffirmed his prediction for a recovery later this year.

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