'Upswing'

An improving global economy has fed demand for German exports, while industrial orders and business confidence have been rising.

'The German economy is well-known to be a big exporter," Jan Randolph, the head of sovereign risk at Global Insight, told Al Jazeera.

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"One in every two goods they produce goes for export and they were successfully leveraging off the growth in emerging markets.

"Germany is particularly good at selling back to growing emerging markets and Asia has been booming."

The German government still has an official forecast for this year of 1.4 per cent growth, but Rainer Bruederle, Germany's economy minister, said that expansion of "well over two per cent" is now possible.

"One cannot speak of an economic miracle, but we are experiencing an XL upswing at the moment," Bruederle said.

Last year, the economy shrank by a painful 4.9 per cent, easily the worst performance since World War II.

A number of other countries posted positive figures on Friday, with the 16-nation eurozone up one per cent in the second quarter.

France economy's grew by 0.6 per cent in the three months to the end of June, while Spain's GDP rose by 0.2 per cent, compared with 0.1 per cent in the previous three months.

Italy's rate of growth remained the same at 0.4 per cent, with the Netherlands and Austria each performing strongly with a 0.9 per cent gain.

In contrast, figures on Thursday showed that Greece's GDP fell 1.5 per cent in the second quarter as austerity measures continued to hit the economy and increase unemployment.