German business confidence, as measured by the IFO index, rose again for a third month in March, adding yet more evidence that Europe's largest economy, even if it is not free from the effects of the global slowdown, is at least weathering the storm better than might have been expected. The Munich-based Ifo institute reported this morning that its business climate index, based on a survey of 7,000 executives, increased to 104.8 from 104.1 in February.
Ifo's gauge of expectations rose to 98.4 from 98.2, while the index of sentiment on current conditions advanced to 111.5 from 110.3.
Exports jumped 3.8 percent in January, unemployment fell to a 15-year low of 8 percent in February. German companies are benefiting from booming demand for their goods in emerging economies in Eastern Europe and the recent surge in demand in Russia. However the rate of export growth is predicted to slow to 5 percent this year from 8.5 percent in 2007 according to the BGA exporters' lobby in a press release on March 12, and even this slowdown would be noted, since it is export growth which is holding up the whole deifice at this point, and then, should the problems which are now emerging in the East European economies turn out to be more severe than anticipated, well then Germany would be very exposed. But for now, sufficient unto the day is the good news thereof, modest as it may be.
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