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German businesses optimistic, consumers happy, surveys show

Associated Press Associated Press 24/11/2016
German Chancellor Angela Merkel, right, and German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble, left, talk during a budget debate as part of a meeting of the German Federal Parliament, Bundestag, at the Reichstag building in Berlin, Germany, Tuesday, Nov. 22, 2016. (AP Photo/Michael Sohn) © The Associated Press German Chancellor Angela Merkel, right, and German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble, left, talk during a budget debate as part of a meeting of the German Federal Parliament, Bundestag, at the Reichstag building in Berlin, Germany, Tuesday, Nov. 22, 2016. (AP Photo/Michael Sohn)

BERLIN — German businesses remained optimistic in November following the election in the U.S. of Donald Trump as president, but began showing possible signs of concern about the future, a closely-watched survey showed Thursday.

The Ifo Institute said its index remained unchanged at 110.4 points for November. It said businesses reported their current situation had improved somewhat, rising to 115.6 from 115.1 in October.

Their expectations slipped slightly, however, to 105.5 from 105.9 the previous month.

"German business, for now, appears uninfluenced by the U.S. election of Donald Trump as president," Ifo head Clemens Fuest said.

In a separate survey, the GfK institute said its forward-looking assessment of consumer climate rose to 9.8 points in December from 9.7 points in November.

Increases in economic expectations and their propensity to buy helped offset a slight decrease in their income expectations, GfK said.

The Nuremberg-based research company said, however, that its 2,000 consumer interviews conducted on behalf of the European Commission were done largely before the U.S. election, "so any possible effects of the vote barely had any effect on the current consumer climate."

Germany, Europe's largest economy, enjoys moderate growth and low unemployment.

As one of the world's largest exporters, however, there is growing angst about what the British decision to leave the European Union and Trump's election might mean for trade.

At the moment, economists say the depreciation of the euro following both developments has likely helped exports, if anything.

The Munich-based Ifo bases its index on survey responses from 7,000 firms in manufacturing, retail, wholesaling and construction.

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