German business confidence up again, but Ukraine risk ahead
BERLIN (AP) — Business confidence in Germany, Europe’s biggest economy, has picked up for the second month in a row even though the Russia-Ukraine crisis could dampen expectations, a closely-watched survey said Tuesday.
The Ifo institute said its monthly confidence index increased in February over the previous month by nearly three points to 98.9. The increase came after a drop over six consecutive months.
The index was lifted both by managers’ significantly rosier views both of their current situation and their outlook for the next six months.
“The German economy is betting on an end to the coronavirus crisis,” Ifo said in a statement. “However, the escalation of the crisis engulfing Ukraine remains a risk factor.”
Germany appears to be past the peak of a wave of coronavirus infections fueled by the highly contagious omicron variant and last week agreed on a plan to end most of the country’s COVID-19 rules by March 20.
The Ifo survey is based on responses from about 9,000 companies in various business sectors.
Official figures have shown that the German economy shrank by 0.7% in last year’s fourth quarter amid a resurgence in coronavirus infections. The decline followed two quarters of solid gains that came despite persistent supply bottlenecks.