Germany's economic recovery has already begun – at least in the minds of German business leaders. The business climate index of the economic research institute Ifo revealed that optimism in the German economy has climbed for the ninth consecutive time, reaching a three-year high of 97.4 points. The latest results -- based on a monthly survey of 7,000 companies -- show that "the economic recovery process is set to continue," said Ifo President Hans Werner Sinn. Trust in the economy grew in both the east and west of Germany, with even the troubled construction industry reporting an improved outlook. The retail sector, on the other hand, reported sinking confidence levels due to disappointing results in 2003.