Germany grew faster than expected in the past three months, official figures have shown, signalling a further recovery in Europe's largest economy.
German exports remain strong
GDP grew by 0.6% in Germany between July and September, an improvement on the previous quarter's 0.2% increase.
The rise was largely down to strong export growth, and the period also saw increased investment by businesses.
But economists remain divided over the strength of the recovery amid signs that consumer spending remains weak.
The economy grew 1.3% on a year-by-year basis over the period, according to figures published by the Federal Statistics Office. Experts had forecast a 1% rise.
On a quarterly basis, growth is now back to the same level seen at the start of the year following a surprise decline in the second quarter.
Overseas demand for German goods remained strong during the period, enabling firms to increase investment in their operations.
German ministers said this raised hopes of more jobs being created.
"Overall, the data confirms our expectations for a strengthening of the recovery," said outgoing economy minister Wolfgang Clement.
The new government has made improving Germany's economic competitiveness one of its main priorities.
Some economists believe the economy is heading in the right direction as greater wage restraint improves labour market conditions.
"The German economy, long derided as the sick man of Europe, is showing clear signs of renewed vigour," Holger Schmieding, an economist with the Bank of America, told Agence France Presse.
However, other figures released on Tuesday showed a further decline in consumer spending over the past three months.
Consumer confidence remains fragile, making life difficult for retailers and other business reliant on domestic sales.
Some experts believe economic growth will slow in the fourth quarter to 0.25%.
"We are a long way from a self-sustaining recovery," said Andreas Rees, economist with HypoVereinsbank.
"The health of the German economy remains strongly dependant on the global economy."