German Consumer Confidence to Rise in February, GfK Says

German consumer confidence will increase in February due to a stable labor market and higher income expectations, Gfk SE (GFK) said.

The Nuremberg-based market research company forecast today that its consumer-sentiment index, based on a survey of about 2,000 people, will rise to 5.8 from a revised 5.7 in January. Economists expected a gain to 5.7 from the initial January reading of 5.6, according to the median of 34 estimates in a Bloomberg News survey.

The Bundesbank said last week that Germany’s economy, Europe’s largest, is already rebounding from a contraction in the final quarter of 2012. Business and investor confidence both rose more than economists forecasts this month, and a gauge of activity in service industries climbed to a 19-month high.

“Germans are once again focusing on the generally pleasing domestic state of affairs,” GfK said in an e-mailed statement. “The labor market is stable and inflation is moderate. Consequently, both income expectations and willingness to buy have risen quite considerably.”

A measure of economic expectations rose to minus 11.3 in January from minus 17.9 in December, GfK said. A gauge of income expectations climbed to 36 from 21.2, and an index measuring willingness to buy jumped to 35.3 from 20.1.

Metro AG (MEO), Germany’s biggest retailer, on Jan. 16 said same- store sales at its consumer-electronics unit rose more than 3 percent in Germany in the fourth quarter.

Unemployment increased less than economists forecast in December and the jobless rate held steady at 6.9 percent, close to a two-decade low.

Still, the government forecasts economic growth will slow to just 0.4 percent this year from 0.7 percent last year and 3 percent in 2011 as a recession in the euro area damps demand for German exports.

To contact the reporter on this story: Stefan Riecher in Frankfurt at sriecher@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Craig Stirling at cstirling1@bloomberg.net

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