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German business morale dips slightly

German business morale dips slightly
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German business confidence fell in March but much less than had been feared by economists.

The Ifo think tank’s business climate index, based on a monthly survey of some 7,000 firms, inched down.

Ifo found firms were worried by the prospect of higher euro zone interest rates and concern over the impact of Japan’s earthquake.

The euro rose in response as investors see Germany’s economic upturn continuing.

Ifo said about half of the survey’s responses came in after the disaster at Japan’s Fukushima nuclear plant began to unfold.

Analysts said there may be some worries about orders to and from Japan in the near-term, although sales there are only a tiny proportion of German exports and the concern was likely chiefly about the broad impact on the global economy.

“The relatively slight fall is noticeably linked to Japan and other uncertainty factors such as the situation in North Africa or the Middle East,” Ifo economist Klaus Abberger said.