German consumer sentiment improves: GfK

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BERLIN, March 25 (Xinhua) — The easing of Germany’s hard COVID-19 lockdown, which started in early March, “boosted consumer confidence,” according to a monthly consumer climate study published by the Nuremberg-based market research institute GfK on Thursday.

The forward-looking consumer sentiment index for April increased by 6.5 points compared to the previous month but was still negative at minus 6.2 points, according to the study based on monthly interviews of around 2,000 German consumers.

The general economic outlook among German consumers has also brightened. GfK noted that the reopening of certain stores or service providers, such as hairdressers, “stimulated economic optimism.”

The outlook for German exports also improved as “growth forecasts in both the United States and China have been revised upward,” partly as a result of extensive aid programs.

Income expectations “significantly contributed to the sharp rise” in overall consumer sentiment in Germany, with the indicator rising 15.8 points to 22.3 points, according to GfK. The propensity to buy only increased slightly as the corresponding indicator was still around 19 points below the previous year’s level.

GfK stressed that the suspension of the use of AstraZeneca vaccine due to the risk of thrombosis and the recent significant increase in the number of coronavirus infections in Germany, were not reflected in the survey yet.

“The current improvement will remain a flash in the pan,” commented Rolf Buerkl, GfK consumer expert, in a statement. “A sustained recovery in consumer confidence will continue to be a long time coming — which means difficult times are ahead for retailers and manufacturers.” Enditem

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