Industrial orders in Germany, Europe's biggest economy, rose by a bigger-than-expected 2.4 percent on the month in February, posting their second consecutive healthy rise, official data showed Wednesday.
The rising demand was led by orders for so-called investment goods such as machinery, which were up 4.5 percent compared with January, the Economy Ministry said. It added that there was a stronger than average number of large orders.
February's overall increase beat economists' predictions of a slim 0.5 percent increase. It followed a month-on-month rise in January of 3.1 percent, which itself was revised upward from the initial reading of 2.9 percent.
Germany has seen an impressive recovery over the past year as surging exports into a recovering global economy were accompanied by signs of improving domestic demand.
In February, orders from inside Germany rose by 2.6 percent compared with January and orders from abroad increased by a slightly smaller 2.3 percent.
Orders from Germany's partners in the 17-nation eurozone were up 3.2 percent, double the increase in demand from other countries, even as several of its members grapple with debt problems and austerity drives.
"Although a simple extrapolation of this pattern might be too good to be true, it signals that foreign demand is not only coming from emerging Asia and the U.S. but also from Germany's core markets," UniCredit economist Andreas Rees said. The rise in domestic demand also is encouraging, he added.
"German companies will remain on a roll for the time being," Rees said.
However, he pointed to possible risks to the economy in the coming weeks and months from rising commodity prices and supply bottlenecks resulting from the aftermath of Japan's earthquake disaster.