Hopes are growing for a rebound in the battered world economy after German and French manufacturers posted a surge in demand and China unveiled buoyant trade numbers.
Industrial production in Germany jumped by almost 9pc in June from the previous month, according to official figures, with exports up by 14.9pc.
At the same time French production climbed more than 14pc, the Insee statistics bureau said. Production is rising for all types of goods, from food to machinery to transport equipment.
Output in both countries remains below its pre-coronavirus levels, but factories have recovered more than half of the yawning gap that opened up during lockdowns.
The biggest increases in orders for German goods came from the domestic market, but export demand is also picking up.
Economist Holger Schmieding at Berenberg Bank said this reflected the reopening of the country’s economy as consumers moved back towards normality.
He said: “Spending more time at home than usual, Germans bought more over the internet and cooked more for themselves in the second quarter. During the gradual re-opening of the economy from late April onwards, they first went out to buy more gadgets to improve their homes and gardens.
“Consumer demand has rebounded faster than industrial production. In a similar vein, the recovery of cross-border trade is starting close to home, with orders from eurozone countries snapping back more strongly than those from more far-flung places.”
This was also reflected in China’s exports, which increased more to the rest of Asia and the US than to Europe.
Exports in June were up by more than 7pc on the year, with sales to the US climbing more than 12pc and the rest of Asia 14pc. Sales to the EU and Japan are still down on the year.
Analysts warned that a big rise in sales of hi-tech goods might not be sustainable if it represents the release of pent-up demand.
But they are still hoping for a steady overall improvement in China as a preliminary US trade deal signed earlier this year support imports, helped by extra government spending at home.
Li-Gang Lui, of Citi, said: “China’s exports will continue to benefit from a global economic recovery in the second half as well as the spill-over effect of large fiscal stimulus in its key trading partners. As China’s fiscal policy takes the driving seat, its impact on imports will become stronger in the second half of the year.
“China’s commitment to honoring the US-China Phase One Trade Agreement, together with a lag in the scheduled fulfillment in the first half, will also help boost imports.”