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Gloomy services push down German business morale

Europe's largest economy got off to to a sluggish start, according to a new survey ....

German business morale deteriorated unexpectedly

The Ifo institute's business climate index for January fell to 95.9 from 96.3 in December.

A Reuters forecast had expected a rise.

Confidence in the service sector darkened while the mood among construction managers also cooled.

One bright spot - the struggling manufacturing sector showed signs of a recovery

That was partly thanks to more Brexit clarity and progress in resolving the U.S.-Sino trade conflict.

But employment and wage growth though are expected to slow this year

as Germany's mighty car industry struggles with weaker foreign demand and tougher regulation.

The Ifo figures contrasted with a survey among purchasing managers published last week that showed the private sector gained momentum in January

The German economy expanded just 0.6% in 2019.

It's expected to grow 1% this year - helped by an exceptionally high number of working days.