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Consumption

German consumer index dips

Germans are heading into 2013 less confident about the economy, but with hopes for rising incomes. The GfK research group's consumer climate index also suggests that they might be spending less.

The closely-watched GfK consumer confidence index fell from 5.8 points for December to 5.6 points for January, amid mounting concern among Germans about the state of the economy and the eurozone debt crisis.

"As a result of the international economic headwind, German consumers are feeling uncertain at the end of the year," said the Nuremberg-based group while explaining a second monthly drop in its index.

Noting that consumers expected a difficult period for the economy in the coming months, GfK said the relevant sub-index, measuring economic expectations, subsequently fell from minus 14.6 points to minus 17.9 points.

Hopes still prevail for 2013

Furthermore, the downbeat economic mood appeared to be weighing on Germans willingness to spend, GfK added, saying shoppers were "more cautious" about purchasing consumer durables and high-price products.

Surprisingly though, all this comes on the back of persistent hopes for rising incomes in 2013.

The GfK index decline falls in line with predictions for German economic growth in the coming months. The country's central bank, the Bundesbank, said last week that it expected gross domestic product (GDP) to shrink in the final quarter of 2012, and into the first three months of 2013. A modest recovery was not to be expected before spring next year, it added.

uhe/ipj (dpa, AP)