German factory orders rose in March as businesses turned their attention from the euro zone to the U.S. and emerging markets, the Economics and Technology Ministry of Europe's largest economy said Monday.
Orders rose 2.2 percent from February, spurred by a 4.8 percent growth in export orders from outside the currency zone. Domestic factory orders also grew 1.3 percent while exports to euro zone partners were flat after falling 3.3 percent in February.
This beat the ministry's own forecast of 0.3 percent and the prediction by economists surveyed by Bloomberg News of 0.5 percent.
Frankfurt's Dax Performance Index was down over 2 percent Monday morning from Friday's close, but the better-than-expected report bolstered the index so it closed up slightly by 0.12 percent. The Dax has gained 11 percent since the start of the year.
Orders for consumer goods increased the most, by 5 percent. Orders for investment goods -- which include items such as heavy machinery used in manufacturing -- were up 4.2 percent. Basic-goods orders rose 1.1 percent.
The news was met with caution over how much Germany can prop up troubles in other parts of the euro zone.
The German economy is in relatively good condition, Jens-Oliver Niklasch, an economist at Landesbank Baden Wuerttemberg in Stuttgart, told Bloomberg News. But we have perhaps reached a turning point and the economic outlook could worsen.
It is doubtful that the German engine will be able to continue running on non-eurozone fuel for a long while, ING Bank economist Carsten Brzeski told dpa.