German business sentiment fell in April for the second consecutive month, missing even the lowest estimate in a Reuters poll and signalling that Europe's largest economy is struggling to pull away from a contraction at the end of last year.

The Munich-based Ifo think tank said on Wednesday its business climate index, based on a monthly survey of some 7,000 firms, fell to 104.4 in April, down from 106.7 in March.

That was short of even the lowest forecast in a Reuters poll for a reading of 104.8, in which the median estimate of 45 economists was 106.2.

(Reporting by Berlin bureau)