FRANKFURT, GERMANY (AFP) – German business confidence improved for a third straight month in December, a key survey showed yesterday, the latest sign a downturn in Europe’s top economy may be milder than feared.
The Ifo institute’s monthly confidence barometer, based on a survey of about 9,000 companies, reached 88.6 points, up from a reading of 86.4 points in November.
Earlier in the year, the gauge declined for months after the invasion of Ukraine, and subsequent reduction in gas exports, sent inflation soaring and triggered warnings of recession for next year. But a massive government fund to cap prices and efforts to diversify the country’s energy supplies have eased the immediate sense of crisis.
“Sentiment in the German economy has brightened considerably,” Ifo president Clemens Fuest said.
“German business is entering the holiday season with a sense of hope.”
ING bank economist Carsten Brzeski said the reading shows that “hope has returned”.
“Hope that the economy might even avoid a winter recession or at least hope that it will only be a mild one.”