BERLIN (AP) — Factory orders in Germany, Europe's biggest economy, rose for the sixth consecutive month in October and exceeded economists' expectations, official data released Friday showed.

Orders were up 2.9% compared with the previous month, the Economy Ministry said. That compared with economists' forecast of 1.5 %. It followed gains of 4.9% in August and 1.1% in September.

Demand for investment goods such as factory machinery led the gains in October, while orders for consumer goods were down. Orders from both domestic and foreign customers were up, though those from elsewhere in the 19-nation eurozone were up a relatively feeble 0.5%.

Sharp rises in coronavirus infections led to partial shutdowns in Germany and elsewhere in Europe in November.

In Germany, restaurants, bars, sports and leisure facilities have been closed since Nov. 2, while schools and nonessential shops have remained open. Those measures, which are milder than those taken in the first phase of the pandemic, are expected to remain in place until at least Jan. 10.