BERLIN (AP) -- German industrial orders returned to healthy growth in June after a slight decline the previous month as foreign demand increased strongly, government data showed Thursday.
Orders were up 3.2 percent on the month in June, more than twice economists' forecast of a 1.4 percent increase. That followed a dip of 0.1 percent in May -- a figure revised upward from a preliminary estimate of a 0.5 percent drop.
The gain was fueled by an above-average number of large orders, particularly for vehicles from foreign buyers, the Economy Ministry said.
Total orders from abroad were up 5.7 percent in June; orders from inside Germany increased by only 0.3 percent.
Orders were up 7.7 percent in the second quarter over the previous quarter.
Figures next week are expected to show a healthy rise in second-quarter GDP in Germany, Europe's biggest economy, though experts believe that growth is likely to slow in the second half.
Alexander Koch, an economist with UniCredit in Munich, said the June increase in orders apparently was led by "exceptionally high aircraft orders" for European plane maker Airbus, part of whose manufacturing operation is in Germany.
The figures underlined "the current very solid situation in industry," Koch said.
"The flood of new orders clearly argues against an abrupt end to the strong dynamic," he added. "But the best in the industrial cycle should now lie behind us."