German consumers view new year with optimism – survey

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FRANKFURT AM MAIN: German consumers are looking ahead to the new year with optimism, a leading survey said Friday, though it warned that the impact of this week’s deadly Berlin attack had yet to be taken into account.

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The poll of around 2,000 people, carried out by market research firm GfK, found that consumer morale in Europe’s top economy rose for a third consecutive month in December.

“Consumer appetite remains robust,” it said in a statement.

Looking ahead to 2017, GfK’s headline consumer confidence indicator was forecast to rise to 9.9 points in January, it said, up from 9.8 in December.

Buoyed by a strong labour market and high wages, Germany’s big-spending shoppers appear unfazed by a string of political and financial risks on the horizon, the pollster said.

“Consumers are showing resilience towards a series of risk factors, such as the outcome of the US elections, the Brexit decision, the flare-up of the Italian banking crisis… and the ongoing terror threat,” it said.

In a note accompanying the survey however, GfK said respondents were questioned before Monday’s truck assault on a Christmas market in Berlin.

“Any possible implications from that will be known in the next survey at the earliest,” it added.
Twelve people were killed in the attack, which was claimed by the Islamic State group.

The latest snapshot of consumer morale echoed the upbeat findings of a closely-watched business confidence survey released by the Munich-based Ifo institute earlier this week.

That poll found that German businesses also expected to end the year on a high note, likewise shrugging off concerns about Brexit or Donald Trump’s surprise election in the United States.

The German government expects the economy to grow by 1.8 percent this year and 1.4 percent in 2017.

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