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German unemployment rises slightly

German unemployment grew by a small amount in August, as the conflicts in Ukraine and the Middle East weighed on economic performance. But Germany's Labor Agency remains ''moderately positive' about the future.

Unemployment queues at Germany's Labor Agency offices grew a total of 30,472 in August, as geopolitical issues left a few scratch marks on the economy. The agency says 2.902 million people were out of work in Germany this month, taking the unemployment rate up by 0.1 percent to 6.7 percent.

External factors weigh

In seasonally adjusted terms, there were only 2,000 more unemployed. However analysts had been forecasting 5,000 fewer. The Labor Agency pointed to second-quarter GDP shrinkage of 0.2 percent, saying the ongoing consumer boom hadn't been able to offset weaker exports and investment. In its statement it said, ''External economic uncertainty is having an increasing effect, notably the conflicts in the Middle East and Ukraine.''

Telltale signs of stress

The rise in unemployment follows hot on the heels of two other economic indicators pointing to uncertainty in the face of tit-for-tat sanctions on Russia over Ukraine, and the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians in Gaza. The latest Ifo business climate and GfK consumer sentiment indices both slipped marginally against the long term trend this month.

But while the Labor Agency expects "subdued" Q3 economic perfomance, it says labor-market developments will remain ''moderately positive."

bew/sgb (AFP,AP)

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