German investor sentiment rose in February on expectations that restrictions to contain COVID-19 will ease, allowing growth in Europe's largest economy to pick up, a survey showed on Tuesday.

The ZEW economic research institute said its economic sentiment index rose to 54.3 from 51.7 in January. A Reuters poll had pointed to a rise to 55.0.

"The economic outlook for Germany continues to improve in February despite growing economic and political uncertainties," ZEW President Achim Wambach said in a statement.

"Financial market experts expect an easing of pandemic-related restrictions and an economic recovery in the first half of 2022. They still expect inflation to decline, albeit at a slower pace and from a higher level than in previous months," he added. "Consequently, more than 50% of the experts now predict that short-term interest rates in the euro area will rise in the next six months."

An index for current conditions rose to -8.1 points from -10.2. The consensus forecast was for a reading of -6.0.

(Writing by Joseph Nasr Editing by Madeline Chambers)