German Ifo business morale falls unexpectedly in December

BERLIN, Dec 19 (Reuters) - German business confidence fell unexpectedly in December after hitting an all-time high in the previous month, a survey showed on Tuesday, suggesting that business leaders in Europe's largest economy have become less optimistic about their outlook.

The Munich-based Ifo economic institute said its business climate index, based on a monthly survey of some 7,000 firms, edged down to 117.2 from an upwardly revised reading of 117.6 in November which was the highest on record.

The December reading came in lower than a Reuters consensus forecast for a value of 117.5.

The slight drop in the headline figure was due to less optimistic business expectations while assessments of the current business situation were more positive, Ifo said.

But overall business morale remained on a relatively high level, Ifo chief Clemens Fuest said, adding: "German businesses are full of festive spirits." (Reporting by Michael Nienaber; Editing by Joseph Nasr)