BERLIN (AP) -- German exports rose 0.5 percent in March compared with the previous month, a figure that follows promising data on industrial orders and production in Europe's biggest economy.
The increase announced Friday by the Federal Statistical Office wasn't enough to cancel out a 1.2 percent decrease in February, but it was the third rise in four months.
The German economy is in better shape than many others in the 17-nation euro area and is believed to have returned to growth in the first quarter after shrinking in last year's final three months.
In year-on-year terms, exports — a traditional German strength — were down 4.2 percent in March at 94.6 billion euros ($124 billion). That figure was dragged lower by a 7 percent drop in exports to the eurozone.