A steep rise in large-scale orders from overseas customers has given German factories some breathing space. But domestic demand continues to point downwards, the Economics Ministry warns in its March report.
Mainly thanks to strong overseas demand, German factories saw a substantial rise in industrial orders in March, the Economics Ministry reported Monday.
It said overall factory orders increased by 1.9 percent in the final month of the first quarter, while analysts had only penciled in a 0.7-percent rise, following the 0.8-percent drop in the previous month.
The ministry said the March surge in orders marked the strongest increase in nine months and helped the first quarter end on a positive note.
"The rise in March orders came at the right time," said VP Bank economist Thomas Gitzel. "Otherwise, the first quarter would have been a rather bitter one."
Orders from overseas clients rose by 4.3 percent in March as demand for German goods increased by 1.1 percent across the eurozone, and by 6.2 percent in non-euro-area foreign countries.
By contrast, domestic industrial orders dipped by 1.2 percent in the same month.
"It's the old pattern when it comes to factory orders," said Dirk Schlotböller from the Association of German Chambers of Commerce and Industry (DIHK). "It's one step ahead, and one step back, but fortunately, the step ahead is bigger."
hg/cjc (Reuters, AFP)