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

German consumer morale hits strongest since 2001 going into February

People walk through the Mall of Berlin shopping centre during its opening night in Berlin, September 24, 2014. REUTERS/Thomas Peter/File Photo

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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