German business confidence recovers more ground

Frankfurt—German business confidence in June recovered more ground lost to the coronavirus, a closely-watched survey showed Wednesday, even as local outbreaks led to shutdowns in some parts of the country.

The Ifo institute’s monthly barometer rose 6.5 points to 86.2, slightly beating analysts’ expectations.

As infection control lockdowns were imposed in March and April, throttling activity, the measure fell as low as 74.3 points before beginning its rebound last month.

“The mood in German boardrooms continues to brighten,” Ifo chief Clemens Fuest said in a statement, with June seeing “the strongest-ever increase” in a single month.

“German business can see light at the end of the tunnel,” Fuest added.

Ifo’s figures are based on a survey of around 9,000 companies.

Firms’ assessments of their present situation inched up slightly, but their outlook for the coming months jumped almost 11 points, to 91.4.

Measures of German consumer, investor and business confidence have improved in recent weeks as lockdowns are eased and everyday life makes steps towards normal.

But there are signs that Europe’s top economy, which has suffered fewer deaths than neighbors like France, Italy or Britain, may not be out of the woods yet. 

A massive outbreak in a meat processing plant in western Germany prompted authorities there to lock down two districts home to more than 600,000 people for the first time since national restrictions were eased.

“I am not so optimistic that we’ll have such a peaceful situation as now in a month’s time,” warned virologist Christian Drosten, who has advised Berlin throughout the crisis.

“We’re going to have problems unless we remain on full alert.”

Topics: German business , coronavirus disease 2019 , COVID-19
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