Jan 20, 7:37 AM EST

Germany's ZEW survey rises more than expected; ECB lending data improves


World Video

Buy AP Photo Reprints
Multimedia
A district summary of the Beige Book
Measuring economic stress by county nationwide
Mall malaise: shoppers browse, but don't buy
Unemployment by the numbers
Family struggles with father's unemployment
Saying an affordable goodbye
Hard times hit small car dealer
Latest Economic News
European Central Bank official denies lower euro was prime consideration behind stimulus

Ukraine head of reforms: reducing corruption top priority as country seeks another bailout

Moody's drops Atlantic City bond rating 6 notches after New Jersey appoints emergency managers

Top official: Russians will 'eat less' to support Putin in face of Western sanctions

SKorea economic growth slows to 2.7 percent in 4Q, weakest expansion in 6 quarters

ECB to pump money into economy through monthly bond purchases to try to revive economy

ECB says it will pump new money into economy through bond purchases until inflation picks up

Where does your city rank? Study ranks 300 world cities for economic performance; Macau No. 1

Chinese and Turkish cities and energy-boom towns dominate list of top economies worldwide

Venezuela leader pledges 15 pct wage hike amid economic crisis, rejects currency devaluation

Interactives
Greece's Debt Threatens to Spread
State budget
gaps map
Auto industry problems trickle down, punish Tennessee county
Women give old Derby hats a makeover in tough economy
S.C. town deals with highest unemployment in South
How mortgages were bundled and sold as securities
Tracking the $700 billion financial bailout
Tracking the year's job losses
State-by-state foreclosures since 2007
Credit crisis explained
Presidents and their economic legacies
Lexicon of the financial crisis
Americans' addiction to debt

FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) -- Europe's stagnant economy got two pieces of upbeat news Tuesday even as the European Central Bank prepares to launch more stimulus measures.

An index of market optimism in Germany rose more than expected in January thanks to cheaper oil and a weaker euro, while a survey of bank lending showed more demand from companies in the 19-country eurozone for loans to invest in new production.

The ZEW index rose to 48.4 points, up from 34.9 the month before and well above the 40 points expected by markets. The investment analysts surveyed in Europe's largest economy looked past market turmoil over the Swiss National Bank's decision to let the franc rise sharply.

The higher ZEW reading comes as the ECB's quarterly bank lending survey showed more companies were asking for loans to pay for fixed investment, a key stage in any economy's recovery. The ECB has tried to encourage lending by slashing its interest rate benchmark to 0.05 percent and offering cheap credit to banks so that they can then lend on to customers.

Europe has seen slack growth and high unemployment as it struggles to overcome a crisis over too much government debt. Most concern focuses on inflation of minus 0.2 percent, a sign of serious weakness that could turn into long-term stagnation. Inflation remains well below the ECB's goal of just under 2 percent considered consistent with a healthy economy.

Most bank observers expect the ECB to announce Thursday that it will start purchasing government bonds, a stimulus measure that pumps newly created money into the financial system. The aim is to raise inflation by lowering interest rates even more and increasing the amount of money circulating in the economy.

© 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Learn more about our Privacy Policy and Terms of Use.