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May 23, 4:20 AM EDT

German business confidence hits 26-year high in May


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BERLIN (AP) -- A survey shows that business confidence in Germany has risen to its highest level in 26 years. The strong showing was slightly above economists' expectations.

The Ifo institute said Tuesday that its monthly confidence index, a closely watched indicator for Europe's biggest the economy, rose to 114.6 points for May from 113.0 in April. Economists had forecast that it would increase to 114.1.

Ifo said that that was the highest figure since 1991 and, along with other data, points to growth of 0.6 percent in the second quarter. That would match the quarter-on-quarter growth figure of 0.6 percent for the January-March period.

Ifo surveys some 7,000 companies for its index. In May, executives' view of both their current situation and the outlook for the next six months brightened.

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