German industrial orders surge five percent: ministry

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Demand for German manufactured goods soared 5.0 percent in March, driven by both domestic demand and exports, provisional figures from the economy ministry showed Thursday.

The data was far better than expected by economists polled by Dow Jones Newswires who had forecast a rise of just 1.0 percent following flat figures in February compared to the previous month in Europe's biggest economy.

The ministry said the growth was seen across a "broad front".

"That indicates a continuation and consolidation of the recovery process for industrial production," the ministry said in a statement.

"Business confidence indicators, which also recently improved, also point in this direction."

The closely watched Ifo index last month showed business confidence in Germany rising sharply to a near two-year high.

The data released Thursday said foreign demand for industrial products in Germany, the world's second largest exporter after China, rose 4.7 percent in March, with even stronger growth in orders at home of 5.4 percent.

Demand for consumer goods, however, was weak, falling 1.9 percent in keeping with a long-term trend.

Berlin has faced pressure from eurozone trade partners for policies that would boost imports from neighbours.

© 2010 AFP

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