German business confidence erodes in April

Investor confidence in Germany was down in April

Frankfurt am Main (AFP) – Confidence among business leaders in Germany fell back in April, a closely-watched survey showed Tuesday, as executives responded to a broader clouding-over of the global economic outlook.

The Ifo institute’s closely-watched barometer lost 1.2 points month-on-month, for a reading of 102.1.

April’s score was calculated under a new method taking 2015 as the “base” year with a score of 100, where Ifo had previously measured confidence against levels seen in 2010.

It also includes Germany’s massive service sector for the first time, sharply reducing the weight of manufacturing in the result.

“High spirits among German businesses have evaporated,” Ifo chief Clemens Fuest said in a statement. “The German economy is slowing down.”

Looking to different areas of the economy, the mood among manufacturing firms worsened for the third time in a row, although it “remained at a high level,” Fuest said.

Meanwhile services firms’ outlook worsened sharply, driven by a fall in optimism about future business.

“Central risks, such as the global renaissance of protectionism or the political stalemate in Italy, continue to weigh on sentiment,” commented Joerg Zeuner, chief executive of public investment bank KfW.

Nevertheless, “reliable domestic drivers” including higher employment and wages and plans for increased government spending should keep Europe’s largest economy growing strongly this year, he predicted.