Industrial new orders to the euro area fell at a record annual pace in February, reflecting a fall in the global demand.

Data released by the Eurostat showed that new orders dropped 34.5% year-on-year in February after falling a revised 34.3% in January. Economists had expected a fall of 34.8% for February. New orders fell for the seventh straight month and the February decline was the largest since the data series began in 1996.

New orders for non-durable consumer goods fell 11.1% and that for durable consumer goods declined 24.2%. Intermediate goods decreased 37.2% and capital goods dropped 38.4%.

On a monthly basis, order intakes fell 0.6%, at a slower pace than a revised 2% contraction seen in January, while the consensus forecast was for a bigger decline of 2.2%.

In the EU27, new orders fell 1.4% month-on-month in February and plunged 33.3% over the previous year.

The International Monetary Fund on Wednesday said in its latest world economic outlook that the euro area is set to contract 4.2% in 2009 and 0.4% in 2010.

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