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Germany

German business confidence takes a breather

Confidence among German business leaders has dropped slightly. A closely watched monthly poll by a leading economic think tank revealed executives expected business prospects to worsen later in the year.

The Munich-based Ifo economic research institute reported Friday that its benchmark index gauging business confidence among top executives across the nation fell to 110.4 points in May, down from 111.2 points in the previous month.

The latest poll among some 7,000 managers indicated that on average, compared with last month, the executives polled consider the current business environment to be less favorable, and are less optimistic about prospects for the next six months.

In contrast, analysts polled by Reuters penciled in a less pronounced drop in the confidence barometer.

Spirits dampened despite healthy home market

"The German economy is taking a breather," Ifo President Hans-Werner Sinn commented while presenting the findings of the institute's latest monthly report.

Ifo hesitates over Ukraine

But looking at the index over a broader time-span shows that it hasn't fallen back below the 100-point mark since March 2010. Moreover, economists would only speak of a genuine trend reversal if the barometer declined for three consecutive months.

Among German business leaders' current worries is the economic slowdown in important emerging countries, as well the economic fallout of the West's stand-off with Russia over Ukraine.

hg/nz (dpa, Reuters)

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