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A BMW assembly plant in Leipzig, eastern Germany/AFP


German consumer confidence survey dips on lockdown fears

FRANKFURT, Germany Oct 22 – The mood among German consumers has darkened as fears rise of further restrictions to curb the spread of the coronavirus pandemic, a closely watched survey said Thursday.

The GfK institute’s forward-looking assessment of consumer confidence heading into November fell to -3.1 points from a revised figure of -1.7 in October, well below expectations of -2.0 according to analysts surveyed by FactSet.

Rising infection numbers and the toughening of restrictions are leading to a “fear of further lockdown increases if the rate gets out of control in the coming winter months,” GfK’s Rolf Buerkl said.

The recovery of the mood since lockdowns in the spring, which was “strong” according to Buerkl, “has therefore come to a standstill”.

The German economy had enjoyed a rebound after being weighed down in the spring, when businesses and factories were shuttered.

The survey hit a historic low of -23.1 in May, before reaching -0.2 in August, a high point since pandemic-related restrictions were introduced in the country.

But the GfK survey, based on around 2000 interviews, found that German shoppers now thought their income prospects were bleaker, with expectations of the economy sinking after five months of rising sentiment.

The survey also said that more than half — 51 percent — of respondents had “major concerns” over the economic impact of the virus on them personally.

Last week, Germany reported its highest number of new virus cases as numbers spiked across Europe.

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The Alpine district of Berchtesgaden in southern Germany, a beauty spot popular with tourists, on Tuesday became the first area to return to strict lockdown since the height of the pandemic earlier this year.

The course of the pandemic will decide whether consumer climate can stabilise in the coming months, the survey said.

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