• Germany's news in English

Investor sentiment rises to three-year high

The Local · 19 Feb 2013, 13:31

Published: 19 Feb 2013 13:31 GMT+01:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

The widely watched investor confidence index calculated by the ZEW economic institute soared to 48.2 points in February from 31.5 points in January. It is the third consecutive monthly rise and brings the index to its highest level since April 2010.

Analysts had been expecting a much more modest increase to just 35 points this month. "As the latest gross domestic product (GDP) data show, the German economy cooled noticeably at the end of last year.

But the rise in investors' economic expectations in February suggests that financial market experts are projecting an improvement in the coming months," said ZEW President Wolfgang Franz.

"Experts have ticked off the weak fourth quarter of 2012. In their view, the headwinds for the German economy coming from the eurozone crisis are not as strong as they were a few months ago. If this remains the case in the coming months, the German economy will gain modest momentum again," Franz said.

After GDP growth in Germany slowed throughout 2012, the economy actually contracted by 0.6 percent in the last three months as weak demand in other eurozone countries hurt exports.

Nevertheless, the government, the Bundesbank and other economic experts are convinced that the dip in growth will prove only short-lived and the economy will start growing again in the first quarter of 2013.

That means Germany will have avoided the recession that has entrenched most of its eurozone partners and the single currency area as a whole.

For the survey, ZEW questioned analysts and institutional investors about their current assessment of the economic situation in Germany, as well as their expectations for the coming months.

The sub-index measuring financial market players' view of the current economic situation in Germany slipped by 1.9 points to 5.2 points in February, its lowest level since June 2010.

A frequent criticism against the ZEW index is that it can be volatile and is therefore not particularly reliable. Analysts nevertheless took cheer from the numbers, even if they said they would wait to see whether other sentiment indicators and even hard economic data backed up investor optimism.

The key Ifo business climate index is scheduled to be published later this week. "All in all, financial investors are increasingly bullish about the outlook for Germany's economy and seem to expect a recovery with accelerating pace ahead," said Barclays Research analyst Thomas Harjes.

Commerzbank economist Ralph Solveen agreed. "A growing percentage of analysts obviously assumes that the German economy has managed to turn around and that an upturn is imminent," he said.

"However, indications as to whether or not they are right will only be provided by the purchasing managers' indices and Ifo business climate, due out on Thursday and Friday, respectively. But these indices are also expected to continue rising."

Natixis economist Johannes Gareis said the two main reasons for the increase in the ZEW index were the easing of the eurozone crisis and the low level of interest rates. "However, the economic situation of Germany's trade partners is for the most part still quite weak, as the fourth-quarter GDP data indicated, and this led to the decrease in the current situation sub-component.

Story continues below…

"Despite the upbeat reading, we remain cautious with regards to Germany's prospects, as there are many challenges to overcome in 2013. Nonetheless, we still expect positive growth out of Germany, albeit at a slower pace than 2012," Gareis said.

Berenberg Bank economist Christian Schulz said said the PMIs and the Ifo index due out at the end of this week will be more important in assessing the extent of the upswing. "We expect further improvements there after the strong gains in recent months," he said.

Capital Economics economist Jennifer McKeown argued that the improvement was partly due to hints of further action on the part of the European Central Bank. But with the ECB's words "yet to be followed up with actions and political risks in Italy growing, we fear that investor sentiment might weaken again before long," she warned.


The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

15:57 February 19, 2013 by Steve1949
Blah, Blah, Blah.
18:23 February 19, 2013 by smart2012
And car sector just announced the worst January in sales since 1990 (-9%)

And Siemens just announced 7000 people cut in Germany..

agree with Steve 1949.. Just bla bla bla to help Merkel propaganda
Today's headlines
Creepy clown scare spreads to Germany
Two of the clowns were apparently equipped with chainsaws. Photo: Pedro Pardo / AFP file picture

Police said Friday five incidents involving so-called scary clowns had occurred in two north German town, including one assailant who hit a man with a baseball bat, amid fears that Halloween could spark a rash of similar attacks.

Student fined for spying on women via their webcams
Photo: DPA

Student from Munich fined €1,000 for spying on 32 different computers, using their webcams to take photographs, or record their keyboard history.

This is how much startup geeks earn in Germany
Photo: DPA

A comprehensive new survey of 143 startup founders shows how much you are likely to be earning at a German startup, from entry level all the way up to sitting on the board.

Man dies after beating for peeing near Freiburg church
The Johannes Church in Freiburg. Photo Jörgens Mi/Wikipedia

A middle-aged man from southern Germany has died after being attacked by a group of men who took umbrage with the fact he was urinating in the vicinity of a church.

The Local List
Seven German celebrities with uncanny doppelgängers
Former Berlin mayor Klaus Wowereit and actor Alec Baldwin. Photo: DPA; Gage Skidmore, Wikimedia Commons

Check out these seven look-a-likes of well known German figures - we admit that some are more tenuous than others...

Israel seeks to buy three new German submarines: report
A Dolphin class submarine. Photo: DPA

Israel is seeking to buy three more advanced submarines from Germany at a combined price of €1.2 billion, an Israeli newspaper reported Friday.

Here’s where people live the longest in Germany
Photo: DPA

Germans down south seem to know the secret to a long life.

More Germans identify as LGBT than in rest of Europe
Photo: DPA

The percentage of the German population which identifies as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender is higher than anywhere else in Europe, according to a new study.

'Reichsbürger' pair attack police in Saxony-Anhalt
File photo: DPA.

A "Reichsbürger" and his wife attacked police officers on Thursday, just a day after another Reichsbürger fatally shot an officer in Bavaria.

Five things not to miss at the Frankfurt Book Fair
Photo: DPA

From consulting a book doctor to immersing yourself in an author's world with the help of virtual reality, here are five things not to miss at this week's Frankfurt Book Fair, the world's largest publishing event.

Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
10 things you never knew about socialist East Germany
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
How Germans fell in love with America's favourite squash
How I ditched London for Berlin and became a published author
Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
12 clever German idioms that'll make you sound like a pro
23 fascinating facts you never knew about Berlin
9 unmissable events to check out in Germany this October
10 things you never knew about German reunification
10 things you're sure to notice after an Oktoberfest visit
Germany's 10 most Instagram-able places
15 pics that prove Germany is absolutely enchanting in autumn
10 German films you have to watch before you die
6 things about Munich that’ll stay with you forever
10 pieces of German slang you'll never learn in class
Ouch! Naked swimmer hospitalized after angler hooks his penis
Six reasons why Berlin is now known as 'the failed city'
15 tell-tale signs you’ll never quite master German
7 American habits that make Germans very, very uncomfortable
Story of a fugitive cow who outwitted police for weeks before capture
Eleven famous Germans with surnames that'll make your sides split
The best ways to get a visa as an American in Germany
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd