Business confidence in Germany rose more than expected in April, adding to hopes of a turnaround in Europe's biggest economy, despite gloomy economic forecasts.
Germany is Europe's biggest economy
The Munich-based Ifo Economic Research Institute said its closely watched business confidence index for April jumped more than 1.5 points from March.
Based on a survey of 7,000 German business executives, the Ifo index climbed to 83.7 points from 82.1 last month.
Ifo President Hans-Werner Sinn said on Friday that the firms surveyed were "no longer quite so dissatisfied with their current business situation."
The responses suggest that many of the executives questioned appeared to believe that the economic downturn was bottoming out.
German trend in marked contrast to global outlook
Hamburg's container terminal is one of the world's largest
Another key German economic sentiment survey released earlier this week showed that investor confidence also surged in April to nearly a two-year high in the wake of cautious optimism about the country's economic outlook.
These positive trends are in marked contrast to the gloomy global forecasts published earlier this week by the International Monetary Fund.
The IMF on Wednesday predicted that the German economy would shrink by 5.6 percent in 2009. It also slashed its growth forecast for the world economy by 1.3 percent, expecting no rebound until 2010.