Business outlook darkens amid trade slowdown

Share on StockTwits

Because Europe’s biggest economy and a downturn in manufacturing and trade struggle even as it finds help from a labor 32, an index of German company assurance fell in April.

The Ifo institute said Wednesday its business climate indicator slipped into 99.2 points from 99.7 points in March, implying managers were satisfied with the present situation and the outlook for the future.

The survey was more difficult than forecast by market analysts, who had predicted a slight increase.

“This is consistent with our opinion that Germany’s economy is very likely to grow at a really anemic pace this year, even though there is a slight pickup in growth” from the first quarter, said Andrew Kenningham, leader Europe economist at Capital Economics.

German’s economy suffered flat growth in a year’s end despite reduced unemployment which helps keep consumers spending. The jobless rate was just 3.1 percent in February. The downturn was blamed on river levels that interrupted production and facets such as troubles in the auto industry over emissions standards. Slowing international commerce has hauled export-oriented manufacturing back.

A less pessimistic view was accepted by Carsten Brzeski, chief economist at ING Germany. He said the image in business was not as devastating as some recent data would suggest. Recent zig-zagging of signs”should be regarded as evidence of an bottoming out — confusion as a sign of stabilization,” he wrote in an email.