German business confidence climbs after 6-month decline

A closely watched survey shows that business confidence in Germany, Europe's biggest economy, is improving after six months of declines.

The Ifo institute said Monday that its monthly confidence index rose to 99.6 points in March from 98.7 in February. Managers' assessment of their current situation was slightly better, while their expectations for the next six months improved more significantly.

The overall performance exceeded the expectations of economists, who had predicted a reading of 98.7.

Germany has seen a string of disappointing economic data and forecasts over recent months, with its performance dragged down by one-time factors related to new car emissions standards. There are also concerns over Brexit uncertainty and global trade disputes. But the economy is considered to be in generally solid state.