February 26, 2019 / 7:02 AM / 3 months ago

TABLE-German consumers remain upbeat despite slowing economy - GfK

    BERLIN, Feb 26 (Reuters) - The good mood among German
shoppers was unchanged heading into March, a GfK survey showed
on Tuesday, suggesting that household spending will support
overall economic growth in the first quarter of this year.
    With the risk of trade conflicts and Britain's looming exit
from the European Union as a backdrop, recent data has pointed
to a marked slowdown in Europe's largest economy, which just
skirted a recession - defined as two successive quarters of
contraction - at the end of last year.
    The Nuremberg-based GfK institute said its consumer
sentiment indicator, based on a survey of around 2,000 Germans,
was unchanged at 10.8 points, in line with the forecast.
    "The consumer climate in the first quarter of this year
shows a stable trend at a good level and is so far bracing
itself successfully against the tangible economic slowdown,"
said Rolf Buerkl, a researcher for GfK.
    Consumers' economic expectation fell for the fifth time in a
row to the lowest level since March 2016, GfK said.
    "The ongoing trade dispute between Europe, China and the
U.S. is causing growing uncertainty among consumers," Buerkl
    Despite fears of economic headwinds, consumers were
optimistic about their future income thanks to a strong labour
market, GfK said. Their willingness to buy declined only
slightly but remained at a high level.
    The GfK survey was conducted from Feb. 1 to Feb. 15.    
                                 MARCH 19  FEB 19    MARCH
 Consumer climate                10.8      10.8      10.8
 Consumer climate components     FEB. 19   JAN 19    FEB 18
 - willingness to buy            53.6      57.6      60.4
 - income expectations           60.0      59.9      56.8
 - business cycle expectations   4.2       10.7      54.4
    NOTE - The consumer climate indicator forecasts the 
development of real private consumption in the following month. 
    An indicator reading above zero signals year-on-year growth 
in private consumption. A value below zero indicates a drop in 
comparison with the same period a year ago. 
    According to GfK, a one-point change in the indicator 
corresponds to a year-on-year change of 0.1 percent in private 
    The "willingness to buy" indicator represents the balance 
between positive and negative responses to the question: "Do you
think now is a good time to buy major items?" 
    The income expectations sub-index reflects expectations 
about the development of household finances in the coming 12 
    The additional business cycle expectations index reflects 
the assessment of those questioned of the general economic 
situation in the next 12 months. 

 (Reporting by Riham Alkousaa)
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