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Business

Eager spenders drive German economy

Domestic consumption in Germany has reached levels not seen in over two decades. Undeterred by terrorism fears or unease over the refugee influx, shoppers are driving Europe's largest economy more than any other factor.

Germans are on a spending spree, and it's doing wonders for their economy.

Last year, retailers logged their strongest annual sales increase since 1994, Germany's statistics office Destatis reported Friday. Sales rose 2.7 on the year, jumping 0.2 percent in December alone.

That's significant because retail sales are an important barometer of consumer confidence, which at the moment is the main source of growth for Germany's economy.

The rise in sales is also telling of a broader trend of defiance, one that suggests Germans remain in a spending mood despite anxiety over potential terrorist attacks or the eventual fiscal ramifications of millions of refugees entering the country.

It was the second time this week that German statisticians confirmed the robustness of household spending, after the market research company GfK

published its leading consumer confidence index

on Wednesday.

But terror fears did drag on the economy of Germany's neighbor, France. There, year-on-year private consumption shrank by 0.4 percent in the fourth quarter. In the three months prior, before gunmen mowed down 130 people in Paris, it rose 0.4 percent.

cjc/nz (AFP, dpa)

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