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BERLIN: German investor sentiment fell in April for the first time since November as Europe’s top economy feels the strain of a relentless third coronavirus wave, data showed Tuesday. The ZEW institute’s monthly barometer measuring economic expectations fell 5.9 points month-on-month to a new reading of 70.7 — well below the 80 points predicted by Factset analysts.

Confidence in the eurozone fell by 7.7 points in April to 66.3 points.

ZEW’s assessment of the economic situation in Germany improved by 12.2 points compared with the previous month, but is still deep in negative territory at minus 48.8 points.

“Fears of a stricter lockdown have led to a decline in expectations for private consumption,” ZEW President Achim Wambach was quoted as saying in a press release.

Businesses such as restaurants, leisure facilities and cultural venues have been closed in Germany since November, joined by non-essential shops from December.

Case numbers began to come down after Christmas but have soared again in recent weeks, with the total number of confirmed cases passing three million this week.

German industrial production dropped for the second month in a row in February after eight months of gains, as the economic impact of the pandemic began to bite.

In a monthly report on Tuesday, the government said it expected a drop in GDP during the first quarter of 2021 due to ongoing restrictions.

The government on Tuesday agreed controversial changes to a national infections control law, handing Berlin more power to impose tougher measures such as night-time curfews.

The adjusted law, which still needs to be approved by parliament, foresees curfews from 9:00 pm to 5:00 am and the closure of schools and businesses in areas with high infection rates.

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