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Euro-Region Industrial Orders Unexpectedly Rise on Capital Goods

European industrial orders unexpectedly rebounded in August, as rising demand for capital goods such as excavators and metal-working machines helped offset a slump in durable consumer goods.

Orders in the 17-nation euro region rose 1.9 percent from July, when they fell 1.6 percent, the European Union’s statistics office in Luxembourg said today. Economists had forecast order growth to stall, the median of 17 estimates in a Bloomberg News survey showed. Orders jumped 6.2 percent from a year earlier.

Europe’s economy is edging toward a recession as faltering global demand threatens to erode export growth just as governments toughen austerity measures. German investor confidence slumped to the lowest in almost three years this month and euro-region services and manufacturing output shrank for a second month.

“Uncertainty has reached an extent that companies are even holding back with investment,” said Christoph Weil, a senior economist at Commerzbank AG in Frankfurt. “Two quarters of economic contraction is still the best-case scenario. If the crisis continues, it could become even worse.”

Euro-area orders for capital goods rose 2.7 percent in August from the previous month, when they fell 8.1 percent, today’s report showed. Orders for durable consumer goods dropped 0.8 percent, while those for intermediate goods grew 1.1 percent, the statistics office said. Total orders excluding heavy transport equipment such as ships and trains advanced 0.7 percent from the previous month, when they grew 1.4 percent.

In Germany, Europe’s largest economy, industrial orders fell 1.2 percent in August from the previous month. French orders rose 2.8 percent, while Italy reported growth of 6 percent in that period.

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