A leading economic confidence index in Germany published on Tuesday picked up sharply this month, beating analysts' expectations. The ZEW economic research institute's economic expectations index, based on a poll of 294 analysts and institutional investors, rose by 13 points to plus 50.0 points in August, ZEW said in a statement. Analysts polled by AFX, AFP's financial news arm, had been penciling in a more modest rise of one point in the index to 38 points this month. The ZEW indicator represents the balance between positive and negative expectations for the economy over the next six months. If most analysts and institutional investors polled believe the economy will improve, the index shows a plus. If most are expecting a deterioration, the index shows a minus. ZEW also polls analysts and institutional investors about their assessments of the current situation.