For the 4 months leading up to March Ifo's Business Climate Index rose steadily. But company outlooks have now clouded slightly, over uncertainty about further sanctions on Russia. Though nobody's talking about a downturn yet.
With entrepreneurs facing increasing geopolitical uncertainty, Germany's closely watched monthly business confidence index has dropped at the start of the year. Optimism about the future has declined.
As a German coalition government may emerge soon, a key issue that undid an earlier deal may now create more political havoc. Will Berlin accept a worsening of relations with eastern neighbors while securing cheaper gas?
Free trade between the EU and Russia could bring enormous benefits for both sides, a study by the Munich-based Ifo economic research institute suggests. Only, the Ukraine conflict still stands in the way.
Gabriel has also called for conventional disarmament while meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov in Moscow. President Putin has invited Chancellor Merkel to visit Moscow.
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