(Bloomberg) -- Investor confidence in Germany’s economic recovery improved again in April — adding to fledgling signs of growth following a tough winter.

An expectations gauge by the ZEW institute rose to 42.9 from 31.7 in March, much more than predicted by economists in a Bloomberg survey. A measure of current conditions advanced less than expected.

“A recovering global economy is boosting expectations for Germany, with half of the respondents anticipating the country’s economy to pick up over the next six months,” ZEW President Professor Achim Wambach said in a statement.

“Further contributing to the heightened optimism are the much improved assessments of the situation and economic expectations in Germany’s export destinations. This is reflected, among other things, in the expected appreciation of the US dollar against the euro,” he said.

Optimism in Europe’s biggest economy has risen lately, bolstered in part by prospects that the European Central Bank will soon being lowering interest rates. Such a step could help make investments more attractive again — and guide manufacturing out of its protracted slump.

Policymakers gave their clearest indication yet last week that relief would come as early as June. But even then, it’ll probably take some time for healthy rates of economic growth to return. In the meantime, geopolitical tensions in the Middle East pose new risks. 

Germany’s economy shrank last year and is widely expected to expand just 0.1% in the second quarter. Purchasing managers still see the country’s industrial sector deep in the red. Services, though, have picked up lately, feeding expectations of a consumer-led rebound.

--With assistance from Joel Rinneby and Kristian Siedenburg.

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