Business expectations among German managers have brightened in recent weeks, a closely watched confidence index has shown. Optimism is strongest in the building industry, according to Ifo's latest survey.
The Munich-based Ifo economic research institute announced Monday its monthly business confidence index had unexpectedly risen to a six-year high.
The think tank reported a reading of 112.3 points in March, up from 111.1 points in the previous month, while economists had penciled in a slight drop in confidence levels among the 7,000 German executives polled for the survey.
Managers' evaluation of their current situation and their outlook for the next six months both brightened, the relevant sub-indices revealed.
Rosy outlook or wishful thinking?
Ifo President Clemens Fuest said "the upswing in the German economy is gaining impetus" as the index hit its highest level since July 2011.
A closer look at specific industries revealed that manufacturing businesses were a lot more optimistic than a month earlier. Expectations were particularly high in the building sector, with executives from the sector giving the brightest prediction of future developments since 1991.
The latest Ifo survey showed German managers continue to be rather unfazed by the potential impact of Brexit and looming import tariffs that may possible be slapped on German shipments to the US, if President Donald Trump sticks to his protectionist agenda.
hg/jd (dpa, AP, AFP)