Orders placed with companies in the German manufacturing sector rose sharply again in July, thanks to strong overseas demand for German-made goods. The Economics and Labor Ministry calculated that German manufacturing orders rose by 3.7 percent in July from June, extending the 2.3-percent gain seen the previous month. The reason for the third consecutive monthly increase was an unusually large number of big-ticket orders from outside Germany, the ministry said. While domestic orders slipped by 0.1 percent in July from June, foreign orders jumped by 7.7 percent. Using a two-month comparison to iron out seasonal fluctuations, pan-German orders rose by 5.4 percent in June and July combined from the figure for April and May, the ministry said. "The economy is increasingly gathering momentum. Alongside a lot of other indicators, manufacturing orders are now also sending a much clearer signal," said Economy Minister Wolfgang Clement. "Upward demand for industrial products is strengthening and the conditions have improved for a pick-up in activity in the coming months," he said. Commerzbank analysts described the data as a "very positive surprise" that augured well for the economy in the coming months. Nevertheless, given the latest decline in business confidence, as measured by the monthly Ifo business climate index, caution was warranted, the analysts warned. And orders could fall again in August, they added. UBS economist Edward Teather said the jump in manufacturing orders in July was "additional proof that the pause in growth in the second quarter had come to an end and the outlook is improving for companies and for investment."