Well once could be an accident, but two months has to have some significance. German business confidence - as measured by the IFO index - unexpectedly rose for a second month in February, strengthening the case for the European Central Bank to leave interest rates at a six-year high. The Munich-based Ifo institute said its business climate index, based on a survey of 7,000 executives, increased to 104.1 from 103.4 in January.
Ifo's measure of current conditions rose to 110.3 from 107.9, with a gauge of sentiment in the retail sector rising the most ever, to 1.3 from minus 17.5 last month. Still, a gauge of overall business expectations dropped more than economists forecast, to 98.2 from 99.
Ifo on Feb. 21 cut its 2008 growth forecast for the German economy to 1.6 percent from 1.8 percent. German household spending contracted 0.8 percent in the fourth quarter from the third, slowing economic growth to 0.3 percent from 0.7 percent, the Federal Statistics Office said today.
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