January 25, 2018 / 7:21 AM / a month ago

German consumer morale hits strongest since 2001 going into February

BERLIN (Reuters) - German consumer morale rose heading into February to its highest level since 2001, lifted by shoppers’ perceptions of a boom in Europe’s largest economy, a survey released on Thursday showed.

Household spending has become a major source of economic expansion in Germany as consumers benefit from record-high employment, increased job security, rising real wages and low borrowing costs.

The Nuremberg-based GfK institute said its consumer

sentiment indicator, based on a survey of around 2,000 Germans, rose to 11.0 points going into February from 10.8 a month earlier. The indicator was last that high in October 2001.

The Reuters consensus forecast was for a reading of 10.8.

“Consumers in Germany are making an extremely optimistic start to 2018,” said GfK researcher Rolf Buerkl. “They see the German economy as experiencing a clear economic boom.” GfK’s sub-index measuring income expectations rose to 56.8 in January from 54.3 a month earlier. The headline consumer reading always leads the component indices by a month.

Consumers’ willingness to buy rose to 60.4 from 57.1, a strong reading that indicates traditionally thrifty Germans are opening their purses more readily.

Reporting by Cirsten Pahlke and Paul Carrel

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