BERLIN, Sept 27 (Reuters) - German exporters have become more optimistic about their business prospects as soaring demand from other euro zone countries helps offset worries about the strengthening currency, the Ifo economic institute said on Wednesday.
"The strong euro cannot cloud the good mood among exporters at the moment. The most important driver for German exports remains the euro zone," Ifo head Clemens Fuest said.
Ifo's indicator for export expectations rose to 18.7 points in September from 18.2 in the previous month, with managers from nearly all industrial sectors giving a more upbeat outlook.
"Only the automobile industry had to cope with a noticeable damper. At the moment there are hardly any opportunities for export growth," Fuest said.
Germany's car industry, which is the country's biggest exporter and employs some 800,000 people, is engulfed in an emissions scandal.
European Union and German antitrust regulators are also investigating whether Volkswagen, Porsche, Audi , BMW and Mercedes-Benz owner Daimler held secret meetings to discuss suppliers, prices and standards to the disadvantage of foreign carmakers.
Ifo's latest data on export expectations followed the institute's broader and closely watched monthly survey on business confidence on Monday, which showed an unexpected drop in the weeks before the Sept. 24 federal election.
Merkel's conservatives remained the largest parliamentary bloc after Sunday's vote but bled support to the far-right. With coalition talks set to start, her only realistic option now is a tricky tie-up with the pro-business Free Democrats (FDP) and the environmentalist Greens. (Reporting by Michael Nienaber; Editing by Catherine Evans)