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German and French businesses more optimistic


German and French businesses more optimistic


A holiday boost for Germany as business morale there rose to its strongest level since 1991 in December, according to the latest survey by the Munich-based economic think tank Ifo.

Its business climate index, based on questioning people at some 7,000 firms was up for the seventh month in a row.

Ifo’s boss Hans-Werner Sinn said, perversely, the downturn has worked in the country’s favour: “The reason why Germany is doing so well is the crisis. We have had some pretty tough years with the euro. Capital had left Germany only to be invested in seemingly more promising countries of the euro zone (like Greece, Ireland, Spain). Germany had zero growth. That has all changed completely now.”

At the same time business confidence in France rose more than expected this month.

The national statistics office Insee said its index of sentiment among business leaders rose from 100 in November to 103 in December. Economists had predicted a rise to 101.

A fall in French unemployment of just over 20,000 in October helped to boost sentiment in the euro zone’s second biggest economy.

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