German investor confidence declines in March: ZEW

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German investor confidence has declined and could be affected further by the disaster and nuclear crisis in Japan, the closely followed ZEW survey showed on Tuesday.

The ZEW poll of Germany's financial sector resulted in a drop to an indexed 14.1 points in March from 15.7 points in February, a statement said.

The results from investors in Europe's biggest economy were received both before and after the Japanese earthquake, tsunami and nuclear crisis erupted, but the results were in before before the full extent of the crisis was clear.

"The German economy is in a robust shape. Nevertheless, the tragic events in Japan could slow down the dynamics of German economic growth at least in the short run," the statement quoted ZEW president Wolfgang Franz as saying.

Overall however, "the indicator shows that financial market experts continue to expect a positive economic development during the forthcoming six months," it added.

Analysts polled by Dow Jones Newswires had expected a the index to remain unchanged at 15.7 points.

ZEW noted that "the current survey period covered two two major events," a strong hint that the European Central Bank would raise its main interest rate next month, and the Japanese earthquake.

The overall indicator, which measures financial market expectations, remained well below its historical average of 26.7 points.

A measure of how German investors view the situation at present edged higher meanwhile, gaining 0.2 points to 85.4 points, though that was lower than an analyst forecast for a slight increase to 86 points from from 85.2 in February.

© 2011 AFP

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