German industrial orders, a key measure of demand for goods in Europe's biggest economy, rebounded in March on the back of stronger than expected foreign demand, the economy ministry said Monday.
Orders rose 1.9 percent for the month compared to March last year, in a recovery that outstripped the 0.7 percent growth predicted by analysts.
The positive bounce came after a slump of 0.8 percent in February
The ministry noted that the rebound was based mainly on strong growth in foreign orders, which rose 4.3 percent from February -- particularly from outside the eurozone where demand surged by 6.2 percent.
Domestic orders meanwhile declined by 1.2 percent on a month on month basis.
The March growth is the "the biggest monthly increase in nine months and markedly above expectations," said Johannes Gareis, an analyst at Natixis bank.
"Overall, today's report was strong and provided good news for Germany’s manufacturing sector, following a lacklustre performance in the recent past," he added.
ING's Carsten Brzeski noted that "even if monthly new orders data is too volatile to be a really reliable indicator of what is going on in the industry, today's numbers give some hope that the stagnation since last summer is gradually fading away".