28 January 2003, 17:19  German business confidence edges higher

Business confidence in Germany improved in January for the first time in eight months, according to figures published this morning. The influential Ifo institute reported that its business climate index for western Germany edged up to 87.4 points in January from a revised reading of 87.3 points in December. Last month's reading was previously reported as 87.1. The figure was slightly below expectations, as economists had forecast a rise to 87.5 in January.
Germany's economy expanded 0.2pc in 2002, the slowest pace in almost a decade, according to the Federal Statistics Office. It said that said exports and government consumption expenditure grew last year, but that this could not offset a decline in consumer spending. Export growth, which helped to save the economy from contraction, could slow this year as the appreciation of the euro makes German goods more expensive outside the eurozone and if a war with Iraq stalls the US recovery.//www.fxcentre.com

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