The mood in the boardrooms of German companies brightened in February for the fourth month in a row. The Ifo business climate index rose to 91.1 points from 90.1 points in the previous month, as the Munich-based Ifo Institute announced on Wednesday in its survey of around 9000,<> executives.

Economists surveyed by the news agency Reuters had expected the increase to 91.2 points. "The German economy is gradually working its way out of its weak phase," said Ifo President Clemens Fuest. Although companies were more dissatisfied with current business than in January, expectations for the next six months increased.

Recently, there have been mixed signals for the economy. The purchasing managers' index for the private sector, industry and service providers together rose for the fourth month in a row in February and signalled growth for the first time in eight months.

However, the Bundesbank warns of a winter recession in Germany. After shrinking by 0.2 percent at the end of 2022, the economy could also lose momentum in the current quarter. With two quarters in a row with a declining gross domestic product (GDP), experts speak of recession.