Industrial orders rose 2.8 percent in April from March, the government said, topping the 1.9 percent expected according to analysts polled by Dow Jones Newswires.
In March, orders for German industrial goods fell a revised 2.7 percent, the first drop this year but much better than the initially reported fall of 4.0 percent. In April, foreign orders gained 3.4 percent while those from within Germany were 2.1 percent higher, the provisional data showed.
A breakdown by sector indicated the strongest increase came from investment goods used in the production of final products, a 4.9 percent hike that signalled sustained demand for machine tools and other German speciality goods.
The revised figure for March “throws an even more favourable light on the result” in April, Postbank economist Heinrich Bayer noted.
A large number of bulk orders was recorded, compared with March, which analysts said could be the result of uncertainty following the Japanese earthquake and tsunami that month.
Although the pace of increases in industrial orders and production has slowed this year, the latest data “bodes well for continuing solid production dynamic throughout 2011,” UniCredit economist Alexander Koch said.
The German economy is expected to expand by at least 2.6 percent this year following growth of 3.6 percent in 2010. but Chancellor Angela Merkel has indicated the forecast could be raised above 3.0 percent in the coming months.