German business confidence rises for 4th straight month

BERLIN (AP) A closely-watched measure of German business confidence released Monday rose for the fourth straight month in February in another positive sign from Europe’s largest economy.

The Munich-based Ifo institute said its indicator rose to 106.8 points from 106.7 the month before.

“The German economy is proving robust in the face of geopolitical uncertainty,” said Ifo President Hans-Werner Sinn.

The study, based upon 7,000 monthly surveys across several sectors, showed managers’ outlook for the coming six months improved to 102.5 points from 102.0 the month before, while their assessment of the current situation dropped slightly to 111.3 from 111.7 in January.

“The combination of improving expectations and a weaker current assessment suggests that German businesses never feared a full escalation of the Greek crisis or were at least not afraid of a Grexit,” said ING analyst Carsten Brzeski, referring to Greece’s potential exit from the euro.

Germany exports, a key component to the economy, have been buoyed by the recent drop in value of the euro currency.

Brzeski said that and a combination of other factors bode well for the future.

“The economy should enjoy a pleasant tail wind, stemming from lower energy prices, the weaker euro and rock-bottom interest rates,” he said. “Combined with the already solid labor market, almost everything is put in place for another strong year of the German economy.”



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