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Business

Ifo think tank sees German business confidence edging up again

German business confidence has risen for the fifth month in a row despite a volatile economic environment. The Ifo sentiment barometer edged up slightly, but stayed way below analysts' expectations.

Confidence among German executives rose slightly in September, the Munich-based Ifo economic institute reported on Tuesday when presenting its monthly sentiment barometer based on a poll among 7,000 managers.

The think tank's closely watched overall index climbed to 107.7 points, up slightly from the 107.6 points recorded a month earlier.

The sub-index measuring executives' current business slipped to 111.4 points from 112 points in August, while the outlook barometer moved up to 104.2 points from 103.3 points in the previous month.

Export dependency

"Although companies assessed their current business situation slightly less favorably, their expectations were once again more optimistic," Ifo economist Kai Carstensen said in a statement. "The German economy made a confident start to the fall."

Dekabank analyst Andreas Scheuerle said it was good to see German companies getting into gear for an improving business environment. "Only confident firms are willing to invest more and create new jobs," he commented.

KfW Chief Economist Jörg Zeuner said Germany's GDP could expand as much as 2 percent next year, butt added he was less optimistic for the rest of Europe.

"There's still a lot of doubt around as to whether some nations are able to start paying back their accumulated debt, and that uncertainty means there's a potential for disappointment," Zeuner said.

hg/msh (dpa, AFP, Reuters)