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GfK: German consumer sentiment improves, outlook slips in December

Consumer sentiment in Germany improved in December, but economic and income expectations took a step back, data from market research firm GfK showed.

The consumer climate index increased to 9.7 in December, up 0.1 point from November, but it is projected to fall back to 9.6 in January 2020. That projection undershot the Econoday consensus estimate of 9.7.

The economic outlook indicator lost 6.1 points, about one-third of what it had gained last month, to negative 4.4 in December, below its long-term average of zero points. GfK expects that the downward trend will continue.

However, the propensity to buy remains strong despite a weaker economic outlook, as the index advanced 2.2 points in December to 52.2.

"In an increasingly turbulent economic environment, propensity to buy has shown itself solid as a rock, right through to the end of 2019," Rolf Bürkl, consumer expert at GfK, said. "Consumers have not yet let anything spoil their mood for purchases."

Meanwhile, the indicator for income expectations dropped 10.5 points to 35.0 in December, its lowest level in more than six years, as economic uncertainty begins to impact consumers' expectations of income as well.