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Consumption

Consumer confidence holding in Germany

Germany’s GfK consumer confidence poll shows that Germans may be showing signs of nervousness about the crisis in Ukraine. But the mood in Europe’s top economy remains upbeat.

Consumer confidence in Germany remained buoyant in April, but there were signs that the crisis in the Ukraine is beginning to cloud the horizon. Market researcher GfK reports that wage expectations have reached a record high though, as trade unions negotiate higher pay for employees.

In its latest monthly survey of 2,000 households, GfK says the consumer confidence indicator for April came in at 8.5 points. That's identical to the level in March. The mood in German households contrasts with that in boardrooms: the Ifo business confidence index in Germany continued higher in April.

Psychological aspects

GfK interprets this as a sign that everyday Germans are beginning to be spooked by unrest in Ukraine, and the prospect of a disruption of gas supplies.

Germans saving less, spending more

"This may not be backed up by facts, but there are psychological aspects," says Rolf Bürkl, a senior research consultant at GfK. "Just the feeling that something like this could happen influences consumer confidence."

Income expectations rose 6.7 points to 52.3 points among German households in April. That's the highest value since GfK began collecting data for unified Germany in 1991. GfK says that's because recent wage agreements with big German unions show that pay hikes of three or more percent are viewed as realistic.

kpc/hg (dpa, AFP, GfK)

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