Mar 27, 4:11 AM EDT

A closely watched survey shows that business confidence in Germany, Europe's biggest economy, has unexpectedly risen to a six-year high


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BERLIN (AP) -- A closely watched survey shows that business confidence in Germany, Europe's biggest economy, has unexpectedly risen to a six-year high.

The Ifo institute said Monday that its monthly confidence index rose to 112.3 points in March from 111.1 last month. Economists had forecast that it would dip to 110.8.

Managers' evaluation of their current situation and outlook for the next six months both brightened.

The Ifo institute, which surveys some 7,000 companies for its monthly index, said the survey hit its highest level since July 2011. It said that "the upswing in the German economy is gaining impetus."

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