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More Warning Signs For Europe's Economy

Business confidence fell across the euro zone in February, suggesting that the Continent's feeble economic recovery may be running out of steam. In Germany, the largest European economy, the closely watched Ifo index declined for the first time in ten months as the strong euro took its toll on business optimism. The Ifo findings suggest that output will peak in the second quarter before starting to decline, economists say. That prospect has set alarm bells ringing among politicians. German Economics Minister Wolfgang Clement is demanding that the European Central Bank cut interest rates to boost the economy. The ECB's key interest rate is 2% -- twice as high as the comparable U.S. rate. EDITED BY Edited by Rose Brady

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