German factories received considerably more orders in December. This seems to be a new sign that Europe’s largest economy can go unscathed through the winter.

The number of orders from German factories was up 3.2 percent compared to the previous month. That was much more than analysts had expected. Substantial orders were placed more often. The contrast with November is stark. According to an adjusted figure, the number of orders fell by 4.4 percent.

The German economy showed a small contraction in the last quarter of last year, threatening a recession due to higher energy bills. But various indicators point to growing confidence in the economy, partly prompted by the mild winter weather, which filled the gas storages well.

Last month, the German government also expected its economy to grow narrowly this year. This made Berlin more optimistic than last autumn when it counted on economic contraction for the important trading partner of the Netherlands.

The signals from large German companies have been mixed so far. While Volkswagen expects the economic recovery in China to boost demand, car parts maker Robert Bosch thinks global car production this year will remain below pre-coronavirus levels due to persistent chip shortages and the weakened economy.

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