* Germans' income expectations at 13-year high
* Economic outlook improves for fifth month in a row
* Traditional savers are more willing to spend
By Annika Breidthardt
BERLIN, Jan 29 German consumer morale
unexpectedly rose to its highest level since August 2007 going
into February, as shoppers became more upbeat about the outlook
for Europe's largest economy and low interest rates encouraged
them to spend rather than save.
GfK market research group said on Wednesday that its
forward-looking consumer sentiment indicator, based on a survey
of around 2,000 people, rose by 0.5 points to 8.2 points going
That easily beat the consensus forecast in a Reuters poll
for a reading of 7.6 points and compared with an upwardly
revised 7.7 points for January.
"It was already evident at the start of the year that
consumption would again be making a major contribution to
overall economic growth in 2014," GfK analyst Rolf Buerkl said
in a statement.
Private consumption in Germany grew by 0.9 percent in 2013,
more than twice as fast as gross domestic product growth of 0.4
percent. Buerkl said in a recent Reuters interview that GfK
expected private consumption to accelerate this year.
Germany, traditionally export-led, has come under pressure
for relying too heavily on foreign trade at the expense of its
euro zone peers, and for doing too little to boost domestic
However, with interest rates low and the economic outlook
improving for a fifth month in a row, Germans, traditionally
known to save, have become historically less willing to do so
They were more likely to buy in December than at any time in
the past seven years.
"Saving money has seemingly become still less appealing for
consumers recently," Buerkl said.
"Ever more consumers are deciding to spend their money
rather than pay it into the bank."
Income expectations rose to their highest in 13 years.
Other recent sentiment indicators, such as the Ifo business
morale index, have also pointed to strong German growth but
economists have said they tend to overshoot actual performance.
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(Reporting by Annika Breidthardt; Editing by Susan Fenton)