• German consumer confidence up for 2nd month

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    BERLIN: German consumers remain in an upbeat mood for a second month in a row, dismissing risks on the horizon in view of a humming economy, said a closely-watched survey Wednesday.

    Market research firm GfK said the index from its forward-looking poll of 2,000 consumers rose to 10.4 points for June, after 10.2 in May, which was already a two-year high.

    “An economy on the growth path as well as excellent employment prospects make workers look to the future with optimism,” said the institute.

    Consumers were for now undeterred by “uncertainty about the further economic policy course in the USA and the upcoming Brexit negotiations”, it said.

    It pointed to risks such as “possible economic shocks from the outside, such as increased protectionist tendencies” in the United States under President Donald Trump.

    “Should exports be hampered by trade barriers or higher tariffs for Germany, this could lead especially employees in strongly export-oriented companies to fear for their jobs more,” which would restrain their purchases, the GfK said.

    The latest two-month uptick followed two months of declines — at 10.0 points in March and 9.8 points in April — which came after inflation rose to 2.2 percent in February.

    The latest data comes a day after a separate survey, by the Munich-based Ifo institute, said business confidence had surged to its highest level in over a quarter century, with “a champagne mood in German boardrooms”.

    The German economy expanded by 0.6 percent in the first quarter, and the government expects growth to hit 1.5 percent for the full year.

    Several economists have given more optimistic readings and predicted that growth in Europe’s biggest economy would reach at least last year’s level of 1.8 percent.

    Unemployment has continued at a record low since reunification in 1990, at 5.8 percent, and is seen decreasing yet further in forecasts.

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