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German business morale declines in Jan as economy suffers downturn: Ifo

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BERLIN (Reuters) – German business morale fell for the fifth consecutive month in January, a survey showed on Friday, signaling a downturn in Europe’s largest economy where company executives became pessimistic about future business for the first time since 2012.

The Munich-based Ifo economic institute said its business climate index fell to 99.1, the lowest level since February 2016.

“Disquiet is growing among German businesses,” Ifo President Clemens Fuest said in a statement. “The German economy is experiencing a downturn.”

The German economy grew at a slower pace last year than in 2017 as manufacturers faced headwinds from trade tensions, a slowdown in the euro zone and weaker demand from China and emerging markets.

The government has slashed its economic growth forecast for 2019 to 1.0 percent from 1.8 percent due to slower global economic growth and uncertainty about Britain’s exit from the European Union, a newspaper reported on Thursday.

“The increasing danger of an hard Brexit has proved to be a mood-killer,” Bankhaus Lampe economist Alexander Krueger wrote in a note. “This is mainly a reflection of falling expectations, which is not surprising given it is also the result of global trade disputes.”

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