The number of bankruptcies in Germany continued to increase in the first half of 2004, the business information group Creditreform said in a statement on Thursday. The courts noted a total of 54,700 insolvencies filed, 11.3 percent more than in the corresponding period of 2003. The majority of bankruptcies involved individuals: 35,400 consumers and self-employed people wanted to write off their debts, a rise of 20.0 percent. The number of company insolvencies, on the other hand, showed slight improvement. However, it still reached an overall high level, the group said. It noted 19,300 companies filed for bankruptcy, 1.7 percent less than in the first half of 2003. For the full year, Creditreform expects between 39,000 and 41,000 company bankruptcies and 110,000 to 115,000 insolvencies in total. Germany continues to hold the second place in the European bankruptcy ranking, following France.