October 26, 2018 / 6:16 AM / in 17 days

German consumers keen to spend in November even as economic expectations darken: GfK survey

BERLIN (Reuters) - German shoppers look keen to spend in November, but their expectations for the economy and their own personal income have slipped on worries about international trade conflicts and Brexit, a survey showed on Friday.

Customers use escalators in a shopping mall in Frankfurt, December 30, 2010. REUTERS/Alex Domanski/File Photo

Household spending has become the main source of expansion in Europe’s biggest economy in recent years, backed by record-high employment, increased job security, above-inflation pay hikes and low borrowing costs.

The Nuremberg-based GfK institute said its consumer climate indicator remained unchanged going into November compared with October at an index level of 10.6 points, slightly above a Reuters poll consensus view of 10.5.

GfK’s subindex measuring propensity to buy rose further in October, to 55.9 points, mainly prompted by a general feeling of job security, prompting consumers to make larger purchases, GfK said.

“Apparently unfazed by external risks such as trade conflicts and Brexit, consumers are prepared to splash out. After all, saving is still not an attractive alternative,” GfK researcher Rolf Buerkl said.

The sub-index measuring economic expectations, however, dropped 8.1 points to 19.0.

“This is primarily due to external factors,” Buerkl said.

“The trade conflict between the USA and the EU has not been fully resolved despite a period of calm, while the dispute with China has even escalated,” he said, adding that this was highly unlikely to inspire consumer optimism.

The GfK survey was conducted from Oct. 5 to Oct. 19.

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 compared 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 consumption.

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 months.

The additional business cycle expectations index reflects the assessment of those questioned of the general economic situation in the next 12 months.

Reporting by Tassilo Hummel; Editing by Hugh Lawson

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