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24 May, 2019 00:00 00 AM
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German business confidence hits four-year low

AFP, Berlin

Confidence among German business leaders was ground down to its lowest level in more than four years in May, a closely-watched survey showed yesterday, dampening the mood after tentative signs of spring optimism. The Munich-based Ifo institute said its confidence index fell 1.3 points to 97.9, with the latest reading the lowest since November 2014.

"The mood among company managers has weakened further," Ifo president Clemens Fuest said in a statement. "The German economy is still lacking in momentum." However, some analysts insisted a closer look at the survey showed the outlook is not all bleak in Europe's largest economy.

Firms' judgement of the current business situation dropped, while their expectations for the coming months held firm, noted ING analyst Carsten Brzeski. On the bright side, Brzeski highlighted official data released yesterday which confirmed GDP grew in the first quarter by 0.4 per cent.

And the Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI), a forward-looking indicator for both manufacturing and services, posted a three-month high of 52.4. "Despite the zigzagging of most leading indicators, the German economy has held up relatively well," Brzeski judged.

But despite "growing signs of stabilisation", he warns Germany's economy must prove it can weather the headwinds of "potential political uncertainty in the eurozone after the European elections, the escalating trade conflict between the US and China and higher oil prices."

The latest Ifo figures reflected a continued split in the German economy, with judgements of both the present situation and expectations for the coming months grimmer among manufacturing firms than services companies.

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Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman

Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
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Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

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