German Ifo confidence index posts surprise rise

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Germany's Ifo index posted a surprise rise on Friday, suggesting investors are still positive about prospects for Europe's top economy despite the Greek debt crisis and worries over US growth.

The monthly Ifo business climate rose in June, its first increase since February, to 114.5 points from 114.2 points in May, beating expectations of 113.5 points, according to a poll of economists by Dow Jones Newswires.

"The German economy is experiencing a robust upswing. The business climate in manufacturing continues to be good," the Ifo institute said.

The closely-watched index is based on a survey of around 7,000 firms in manufacturing, construction, wholesaling and retail.

Earlier this week, the ZEW survey fell sharply on worries about the eurozone debt crisis and growth prospects for the US.

Ben May, economist at Capital Economics, said the Ifo "defies" other evidence that the German economy's impressive recovery of late is slowing.

"Nonetheless, we still think that (gross domestic product) growth will weaken over the remainder of the year," May said in a research note.

© 2011 AFP

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