A closely-watched barometer of German business confidence has fallen slightly, catching economists off guard. Firms were less satisfied with their current situation, though their outlook for the future remained positive.
Germany's Ifo institute published its monthly survey of business executives on Monday, revealing a slight dip in companies' assessment of their current business circumstances.
The overall index fell by one-tenth of a percentage point to 106.6 points in April. The sub-index measuring firms' satisfaction at the moment fell by 0.6 points, but it was somewhat offset by a moderate swell in optimism for the next six months. The outlook sub-index rose by 0.4 points.
The indicator surveys around 7,000 managers in Europe's largest economy, asking them to rate their current business situation as well as their outlook for the next six months.
"Although companies were somewhat less satisfied with their current situation, their business expectations brightened once again," said Clemens Fuest, who recently took uphis new post as president of the Munich-based Ifo institute.
"The moderate upturn in the German economy continues."
Analysts surveyed by Reuters had expected the headline index to rise to 107.0 points in Aprilfrom 106.7 points in March.
Another survey of experts, conducted by dpa-AFX, foresaw a rise to 107.1 points.
cjc/uhe (AFP, dpa, Reuters)