German business confidence slips again amid COVID fears
BERLIN (AP) — Business confidence in Germany has dropped for the sixth month in a row amid concern over the latest wave of coronavirus infections, a closely watched survey showed Friday.
The Ifo institute said its monthly confidence index for Europe’s biggest economy dropped to 94.7 points in December from 96.6 last month. Managers’ assessment of both the current situation and the outlook for the next sixth months worsened.
“The deteriorating pandemic situation is hitting consumer-related service providers and retailers hard,” and the business climate nosedived in the service sector, Ifo said.
However, the institute said that confidence in the manufacturing sector rose for the first time after five months of declines as fuller order books helped fuel a more optimistic outlook. Even so, supply-chain bottlenecks — which have helped weigh down confidence for months — intensified again.
The Ifo survey is based on responses from about 9,000 companies in various business sectors.
Germany’s current wave of COVID-19 infections, caused by the still-dominant delta variant, is its biggest of the pandemic and receding only slowly. There are signs that restrictions imposed in recent weeks are beginning to have an effect, but officials are wary of the new omicron variant.
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On Thursday, the country’s new health minister said he was working to procure more vaccine doses to speed a “very offensive” booster strategy that would leave Germany better prepared for omicron.