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News : EU Economy Last Updated: Feb 24, 2014 - 11:11 AM


German business confidence rose to strongest level in 2 1/2 years In February; Service index fell
By Finfacts Team
Feb 24, 2014 - 11:07 AM

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German business confidence unexpectedly rose to the strongest level in 2 1/2 years in a positive sign of growth in Europe’s largest economy may accelerate. However, the separate service sector index fell.

The Ifo institute’s business climate index, based on a survey of 7,000 executives by the economists at the University of Munich, advanced to 111.3 in February from 110.6 in January. That’s the fourth monthly gain and the strongest reading since July 2011.

The business climate in manufacturing improved for the fourth month in succession. Manufacturers are far more satisfied with the current business situation. Their confidence in future business developments weakened slightly, but remained high. Although the export outlook clouded over, the majority of manufacturers remain optimistic.

After last month’s sharp increase, the business climate index in wholesaling decreased slightly. Wholesalers were once again clearly more satisfied with their current business situation. However, they are no longer quite as positive about future developments. In retailing, the business climate index rose significantly. The current business situation improved, with assessments reaching their highest level since spring 2012. Expectations regarding future business developments also continued to brighten.

The business climate index in construction fell slightly. Assessments of the current business situation are less favourable, but remain at a high level. Last month’s optimism regarding the next six months also faded somewhat.

The Ifo Business Climate Indicator for the German service sector fell in February. Service providers assessed their current business situation somewhat less favourably than last month. There was also a clear downturn in expectations, which nevertheless remained optimistic. Firms still plan to recruit additional staff.

The Ifo Business Survey of the service sector is based on ca. 2,500 monthly survey responses from firms in key segments of the tertiary sector, especially business-oriented segments (excl. distribution, financial services, Leasing, insurance and government). The survey is conducted and calculated in the same way as the Ifo Business Survey of industry and trade. The indicator for the Business Climate in the service sector has not yet been incorporated into the Ifo Business Climate Index for industry and trade.

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