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German business morale falls to lowest since 2009; economy ‘in shock’

Lufthansa aircraft stand side by side at Munich Airport.

Peter Kneffel | picture alliance | Getty Images

Business morale in Germany logged its steepest fall in March since the country’s reunification in 1990, the closely-watched Ifo Institute for Economic Research said Wednesday.

The German Ifo business climate index fell to 86.1 in March from 96.0 in February. The reading was lower than expectations of 87.7 and was last at this level in July of 2009.

“The German economy is in shock,” the Ifo institute said on Twitter.

The latest figures come as the German and world economies face huge uncertainty due to the coronavirus pandemic. The virus, which emerged in China in late 2019, has brought all major economies close to a halt. 

Many countries are in national lockdown, meaning that only pharmacies and grocery stores are open; airlines have mostly stopped taking off; and the number of new confirmed cases increases by the day. 

The expectations among German companies have “darkened as never before,” the institute also said in a statement Wednesday.

The Ifo’s latest numbers come after data released Tuesday showed the euro zone suffered a major collapse in business activity in March.

This is a breaking news story and will be updated shortly. 

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