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German Business Sentiment Slips in July

Business sentiment in Germany slipped in July for the third month in a row, according to a closely watched economic index released Thursday.

The Ifo index, a barometer of where Germany's economy may be heading, declined to 106.4 from 107.0 in June, the agency said. Despite the decline, the figure still remains near the record high of 108.7 set in December 2006.

For the 7,000 manufacturing, construction, wholesaling and retail companies that participated in the survey, expectations of the current situation remain favorable but a drop in exports is expected to dampen the next six months, Ifo President Hans-Werner Sinn said.

"Only the assessments of the current situation have improved, whereas more reserve has been expressed regarding the business outlook," he said in a statement.

Germany's influential DIHK chamber of commerce released a survey Thursday indicating the nation is expected to lose its title - held for five years - as the world's leading exporter to China next year, largely due to the strong euro.

The 13-nation currency reached a new high against the U.S dollar on Tuesday, trading at $1.3852.