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Business

Defying Analyists, Business Confidence Rises in Germany

Business confidence in Germany has defied the current global economic gloom by chalking up an unexpected increase in January, a key survey released Tuesday showed.

A major test of the economic mood in Europe, the closely- watched Ifo business confidence index marked the start of the new year by edging up to 83 points this month. Analysts had predicted that it would fall to 81.5 points.

Based on a survey of 7,000 German executives and drawn up by the Munich-based Ifo economic research institute, the index plummeted in December to 82.7 points, which was its lowest point since the 1980s oil crisis.

Since the publication of the December survey, a slew of bleak indicators and data have continued to roll in.

Economy may pick up soon

The indicator's component gauging expectations six months down the track is predicted to rise on hopes of an economic pickup later in the year.

Predictions of an increase in the expectations gauge come amid signs that the severe downturn that has hit Germany and the world economy in recent months could be reaching its low point.

Indeed, hopes have been rising that the round of hefty global interest rate cuts, falling oil prices and government stimulus packages would help to form the basis of an economic pickup later in the year.

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