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Industry

German industrial orders surge on strong eurozone demand

Factory orders in Germany rebounded strongly in April, more than making up for a drop in March. The strong demand for German goods was mainly driven by higher orders from the eurozone.

German industrial orders, a key gauge of demand for goods, were up 3.1 percent in April over March, the country's statistics office, Destatis, announced Thursday.

The rise, which was primarily driven by foreign demand, more than made up for a 2.8-percent drop seen in March, Destatis said.

"Factory orders got off to a good start in the second quarter, with a good chance of an increase for the whole quarter," the German Economics Ministry said in a statement.

According to Destatis data, export orders jumped 5.5 percent while domestic orders remained steady. Demand for German goods within the eurozone was significantly higher as orders rose 9.9 percent.

By sector, demand for semi-finished goods rose 0.2 percent and orders for capital goods were up 4.4 percent. Orders for consumer goods climbed 7.1 percent.

Analysts had been projecting a more modest rebound of around 1 percent for the month. They are now confident that the slowdown in activity seen at the end of the first quarter will be overcome.

"After a disappointing end to a strong first quarter, doubts about the strength of the German recovery had gradually surfaced. Today's data show that at least the industry is alive and kicking," ING DiBa economist Carsten Brzeski told the news agency AFP.

BayernLB economist Christiane von Berg told the same news agency that the data was a first indication the German economy may be able to match the high pace of growth seen in the first quarter.

"Against the backdrop of the recovery in the euro area as a whole, we expect the upward trend in orders to continue in the coming months,” she added.

Other analysts were more cautious, however, saying that industrial orders data was very volatile and came after a relatively weak first quarter.

uhe/cjc (dpa, Reuters, AFP)

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