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German Business Confidence Rises in July

German business confidence rose for the first month in three in July, mirroring a trend across the 12 nations sharing the euro. The Munich-based Ifo institute said its confidence index, based on a survey of 7,000 executives, rose to 95.6 from 94.6 in June as exports drove growth in Europe's largest economy and helped compensate for stagnating consumer spending. Demand for German exports is booming and may help the economy post its best performance since 2000. In Belgium, regarded by some economists as a benchmark for Europe, business confidence jumped this month to the highest since November 2000, the country's central bank said on Monday. But in Germany, such news was treated with caution. Bundesbank President Axel Weber said the country was "a long way'' from "a self-sustaining recovery.'' Consumer and business demand remains sluggish despite the latest Ifo statistics with the unemployment rate at 9.8 percent, the second highest among the dozen euro nations.