German business morale falls more than expected in February

BERLIN, Feb 22 (Reuters) - German business confidence fell more than expected in February while remaining at a high level, a survey showed on Thursday, suggesting that Europe's biggest economy is set for solid growth in the first quarter of this year.

The Munich-based Ifo economic institute said its business climate index, based on a monthly survey of some 7,000 firms, fell to 115.4 from 117.6 in January.

The February reading undershot expectations in a Reuters consensus forecast of analysts who had forecast a dip to 117.0.

Ifo chief Clemens Fuest said companies were less satisfied with their current business situation, but the indicator still was at its second-highest level since 1991.

"This signals economic growth of 0.7 percent in the first quarter," Fuest said.

(Reporting by Michael Nienaber; Editing by Paul Carrel)