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[FRANKFURT] German investor confidence fell sharply in February, the ZEW institute's closely-watched survey showed Tuesday, reflecting fears for Europe's largest economy at a time of global political uncertainty.
The index for investors' future expectations fell by 6.2 points to 10.4 points last month, Mannheim-based ZEW said in a statement.
Analysts surveyed by Factset had forecast a shallower fall to 14.9 points in February from 16.6 points in January.
"The downturn in expectations is likely to be the result of the recently published unfavourable figures for industrial production, retail sales and exports," ZEW president Achim Wambach said in a statement.
"Political uncertainty regarding Brexit, the future US economic policy as well as the considerable number of upcoming elections in Europe further depresses expectations," he added.
Germany rounded off 2016 with a strong quarter of growth at 0.4 per cent, official data released Tuesday showed.
Investors were less concerned about the present economic situation, with ZEW's sub-index measuring current sentiment falling just 0.9 points compared with the January reading.
But Germany's traditional export motor faces headwinds as traditional free trade champions the United States and Britain hint at protectionism.
German exports to countries outside its European Union neighbours fell slightly in 2016, official data released last week showed.
And investors fear that the euro single currency area will suffer just as much as Germany, with ZEW's sub-index for the eurozone outlook falling 6.1 points to 17.1 points.
ZEW surveyed 213 financial actors in Germany between January 30 and February 13 to compile its index.