FRANKFURT, Jan 18 — Confidence among investors in Germany jumped in January, according to figures published today, shaking off concerns about global supply chain disruptions and the spread of the Omicron variant.

The ZEW institute’s monthly barometer measuring economic expectations rose 21.8 points to 51.7 to begin the new year despite difficult circumstances.

Investors assessment of the current economic situation dipped again, down 2.8 points to minus 10.2, after Europe’s largest economy more than likely shrank in the last quarter of 2021.

The period of economic weakness “should soon be overcome”, ZEW president Achim Wambach said. 

Investors expected growth to “improve in the first half of the year”, Wambach said, attributing the increasing positivity to expectations the “incidence of the coronavirus would diminish” over the coming months. 

The German economy has been beset by supply chain disruptions that have held back industrial production and growth.

Last week, the federal statistics agency said that early estimates showed the economy had shrunk “between 0.5 and one per cent” in the last three months of 2021 on the back of bottlenecks and new health restrictions.

Shortages of semiconductors, a key component in both conventional and electric vehicles, have hit the country’s flagship auto sector particularly hard.

Sales of new cars in Germany fell by 10.1 per cent in 2021, after a disastrous year in 2020, when they were down 19 per cent due to the pandemic.

Germany has experienced a sharp increase in coronavirus cases in recent weeks due to the spread of the more transmissible Omicron variant.

In the last 24 hours, the country’s Robert Koch Institute registered 74,405 new cases of the virus. — AFP