Germany's investors are spooked by Greek crisis
GERMAN investor confidence dropped for a sixth month in a row in March, amid signs that the economy is struggling to expand and as Greece's fiscal crisis shook financial markets.
The ZEW think-tank in Mannheim said its index of investor and analyst expectations slipped to 44.5 from 45.1 in February. The index aims to predict developments six months ahead.
"Yes, the first quarter will be bad because of the weather, but the overall outlook is very healthy," said Carsten Brzeski, an economist at ING Group in Brussels. The report shows "more of a sideways move than a downward shift", he added.
Germany yesterday dismissed criticism by French finance minister Christine Lagarde that it needed to do more to boost the exports of euro-area partners by encouraging domestic consumption.
Countries that run trade surpluses have a responsibility to "harmonise" their economies with partners to cut imbalances within the bloc, Ms Lagarde said in an interview with the 'Financial Times'.
German economy minister Rainer Bruederle told 'Handelsblatt' newspaper that Greece's example had shown "there is no way to get around" becoming more competitive and pursuing fiscal reforms. (Bloomberg)