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German economic confidence slips on Ukraine worry

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FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) -- A key German measure of investor confidence in the economy slipped in April as the conflict in Ukraine created uncertainty about the future.

The ZEW survey of investment analysts fell to 43.2 points from 46.6 the month before and below markets expectations for 45.0.

It is the second month the index has fallen because of concern over Ukraine, where Russia has annexed the Crimean Peninsula and is now accused of stirring unrest in the eastern part of the country.

Europe and the United States have imposed sanctions such as travel bans and asset seizures aimed at individual Russian officials, raising fears of wider sanctions that could disrupt trade. Russia remains a significant emerging market for German carmakers and industrial giants like Siemens AG. Germany, meanwhile, gets about a third of its natural gas from Russia.

The ZEW, or Centre for European Economic Research in Mannheim, said Tuesday that Ukraine "still creates uncertainty" about coming months despite strong confidence in the current state of the German economy.

Still, the index remains well above its long-term average of 24.6 points as the German economy continues to expand with low unemployment.

The index was based on a survey of 238 investment analysts March 31-April 14.

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