Germany's Federal Statistical Office says factory orders in Europe's largest economy rose a much stronger-than-expected 4.2 percent in December, with demand rising both at home and abroad.
The increase reported Thursday follows a 2.4-percent drop in November, and was higher than the 1.5 percent increase over the previous month that economists predicted.
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Domestic orders were up 3.4 percent and foreign orders rose 4.8 percent, led by a 5.9 percent increase from the other countries using the euro currency.
Germany's economy grew by 1.5 percent last year and the government in January increased its growth forecast for 2015 to the same figure.