Business World

Tuesday 20 March 2018

German consumer morale down slightly going into September

Angela Merkel
Angela Merkel

Morale among German consumers declined going into September for the first time in six months and fell short of expectations amid concern about economic developments abroad, market research group GfK said on Friday.

The GfK consumer sentiment indicator, based on a survey of 2,000 Germans, fell to 9.9 heading into September from 10.1 a month ago -- the lowest reading since 9.7 in March.

The 9.9 reading for the consumer sentiment indicator going into September was also below the Reuters consensus forecast of 10.1. But GfK said consumers continue to expect the German economy to grow this year.

"Despite the decline, it cannot be said that the economic motor will stutter or even stall," said GfK analyst Rolf Buerkl.

"As before, the indicator level is high, suggesting that private consumption can fulfil its ascribed role as an important pillar of economic development this year."

He added that the outlook for Germany remained bright.

"Since it can be assumed that conditions for a good consumer economy will remain favourable in the coming months, there is a good chance that the consumer climate will stabilise again," Buerkle said.

The German economy grew by 0.4 percent in the quarter from April to June after expanding by 0.3 percent in the first three months of 2015, boosted by strong foreign trade and domestic investment.

The growth in Germany's GDP stands in contrast with the GfK business cycle expectations. It declined for the third time in a row to 16.6 going into September but is still six points ahead of last year's level.

GfK said that weakening growth in China and other emerging countries had recently caused some concern that this trend might weigh on the German economy, which depends on exports.

The GfK's "willingness to buy" reading -- a measure of consumer sentiment towards large purchases ranging from computers to furniture -- fell for the third straight month.

Income expectations also declined after reaching their highest level since reunification last month. Buerkle said that consumers continue to expect their personal financial situation to improve. A high level of employment with scope for rising wages is providing grounds for optimism.

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.


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