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Eurozone

Ifo business climate indicator points upward for eurozone

Business leaders in the euro area are more positive about their current economic situation, the Ifo research institute has said. The think tank's latest indicator showed confidence levels not seen last year.

The eurozone barometer by the Munich-based Ifo research institute climbed again as uncertainties about the area's future economic development receded further.

Ifo reported Thursday the rise of its benchmark index was mainly due to poll respondents in many member countries feeling better about their current business situation that in the final quarter of last year.

The sub-index, which gauges expectations for the next six months, remained unchanged after already reaching the highest level in around three years.

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The best figures came in from Germany and Austria, but also from Latvia, which introduced the euro currency at the beginning of the year.

By contrast, gloomy assessments of the current business climate came from Greece, Italy, Portugal and Spain, with Cyprus being the only nation which thought the economic situation would deteriorate further over the next half year.

Ifo added that it expected the eurozone's inflation rate to come in at 1.5 percent this year, slightly below the 1.7 percent penciled in for 2013. The think tank's poll also showed the majority of respondents predicted that the US dollar would appreciate against the euro in the months ahead, as they saw their currency as overvalued against the greenback.

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