German consumer morale eases from six-year high: GfK

Wed Aug 28, 2013 2:06am EDT
 
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By Sarah Marsh

BERLIN (Reuters) - German consumer confidence eased slightly heading into September, albeit remaining close to its highest level in nearly six years, as shoppers worried about creeping inflation.

GfK market research group said on Wednesday its forward-looking sentiment indicator, based on a survey of around 2,000 people, fell to 6.9 going in to September from 7.0 in the previous month, its highest level since before the global financial crisis.

That undercut the lowest forecast in a Reuters poll, for the index to hold steady at 7.0. A run of strong data from Europe's largest economy over the past month had raised expectations and the mid-range forecast was for a rise to 7.1.

"The upwards trend in the consumer climate since February has halted for now," GfK wrote in a statement.

"However this does not mean a turnaround in the overall trend and the start of a slide."

A sub-index tracking consumers' income expectations eased, albeit from a high level thanks to low unemployment and strong wage increases this year.

"A possible reason for this fall is that consumers are slightly less optimistic about the economy," GfK said. "Expectations of price rises will likely also have played a role ... Consumers fear their purchasing power will be weaker."

Higher food costs drove a 1.9 percent rise in annual inflation in July, the fastest rate in 2013.   Continued...

 
People shop at a cash and carry market of Germany's biggest retailer Metro AG in the western German city of Sankt Augustin near Bonn March 18, 2013. REUTERS/Wolfgang Rattay