Germany's Jittery Consumers

Otto Normalverbraucher--that's the name Germans give to Mr. Average Consumer. This Otto is a key player in his country's economic cycle, since his spending on everything from cars to clothes accounts for 57% of the German economy. And now's Otto's moment to shine. Thanks to meaty rate cuts by the Bundesbank, German manufacturing and construction are expanding again. Export orders are picking up. The only thing needed for a nice sustained recovery in Europe's biggest economy is for German consumers to start spending again.

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