German exporters have "strong" alternatives to Russia-Ifo economist

MUNICH Fri May 23, 2014 4:43am EDT

MUNICH May 23 (Reuters) - German exporters are surprisingly confident about their ability to sell to other strong markets overseas if trade with Russia is further impacted by sanctions over Ukraine, Ifo economist Klaus Wohlrabe said on Friday.

Ifo's business sentiment indicator for May, released on Friday, fell more than expected, once again reflecting concern about the stand-off with Moscow over Ukraine. But Wohlrabe said exporters and the auto industry in particular were upbeat.

"There are other markets where German companies are strong. German exporters are flexible," he told Reuters. "The auto sector's expectations have really taken off."

Sticking to his forecast of 0.3 percent growth in German gross domestic product (GDP) for the second quarter, Wohlrabe said the economy was dealing well with the relatively strong euro and would not directly benefit further from another rate cut by European Central Bank. (Reporting by Joern Poltz; Writing by Stephen Brown)

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