Industrial orders fell by 0.4 percent in November from the preceding month, the federal statistics office Destatis calculated in a statement.
Analysts had been expecting a bigger drop, following a 0.7-percent increase in orders in October.
The economy ministry in Berlin attributed the dent to a drop in more volatile larger orders, insisting that, overall, contracts had developed “very dynamically in the second half of 2017.”
And that would “lay the foundation for a strong start to the year for industry,” the ministry said in a statement.
“The decrease comes after three consecutive increases and is more of a technical nature than any sign of weakness,” said Carsten Brzeski, economist at ING Diba bank.
“There is little reason to get concerned” about German industry, the expert said.