This key indicator of German confidence just plummeted

Peter Spence
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German confidence saw a severe fall in May (Source: Getty)

The Zew survey is one of the few economic releases traders have to go on today, and it's been incredibly disappointing.

The German economic sentiment component of the survey has dropped like a stone, falling from 43.2 to 33.1 in May.

Analysts had been expecting a much smaller fall, to just 41.0. It's a really important release for investors wanting to gauge business confidence in the country.

Zew's Clemens Fuest says that the decline should be "seen against the backdrop of a strong economic development in the first quarter of 2014."

"Already, there are indications that Germany will not be able to maintain this fast pace of growth. Nevertheless, one can assume a positive underlying trend for theeconomic development for the year 2014," says Fuest.

Capital Economics's Jessica Hinds says that the reading gives further weight to the idea that German growth is nearing its peak. It's now the fifth consecutive decline in investor sentiment, and implies that "investors were not overly impressed by the European Central Bank's pledge to "act again" in June," says Hinds.

Hopes have been dashed by geopolitical fears, with this number serving as a barometer for anxiety over Ukraine. Economic sentiment for the wider Eurozone has also fallen, from 61.2 to 55.2, despite forecasts suggesting we'd see that metric jump to 63.5.

There's one ray of light - the current situation survey component is up, from 59.5 to 62.1. Despite that, the euro fell to a day low against the dollar after the release.