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German investor confidence jumps despite virus uncertainty

Published on January 19, 2021

German investor sentiment rose in January as confidence in the country’s export strength outweighed jitters over extended coronavirus measures, data showed Tuesday.

The ZEW institute’s monthly barometer measuring economic expectations in Europe’s largest economy climbed to 61.8 points from 55.0 points in November.

“Despite the uncertainty about the further course of the lockdown, the economic outlook for the German economy has improved slightly,” said ZEW President Achim Wambach.

The survey showed that “export expectations in particular have risen significantly,” Wambach added.

While Germany’s vaccination rollout is picking up steam, with more than one million doses administered, concerns persist over the spread of variants first discovered in Britain and South Africa.

In December, Germany tightened restrictions to curb the pandemic, including shutting most shops after a previous shutdown closed restaurants, bars, gyms and cultural activities.

Chancellor Angela Merkel will meet regional leaders later Tuesday to discuss strengthening measures, with mandatory home office requirements and tougher mask-wearing regulations on the cards.

Germany’s current lockdown still allows for factories and manufacturing businesses to remain open.

Data for November, the most recent available, showed industrial production and orders rose, helped by Germany’s reliance on its export trade with a rebounding China.

ZEW’s figure, based on a survey of 198 financial market experts, came in above analysts’ expectations of 60.0, according to a poll by FactSet.

However, it did not reach the high of 77.4 points logged in September, ahead of the second wave of the pandemic.

Alongside growing investor confidence, ZEW’s assessment of the current economic situation in Germany improved marginally, increasing 0.1 points to minus 66.4 points — still deep in negative territory.