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Business

German consumer confidence edges lower

Overall optimism among German shoppers lessened somewhat in March. The closely-watched GfK consumer index said consumer confidence in Germany was beginning to feel the heat from global economic risks.

GfK's forward-looking German consumer confidence index edged down slightly for April, to stand at 9.4 points for the month ahead following a score of 9.5 points in March, the Nuremberg-based market research group announced on Thursday.

"Optimism among German consumers faded somewhat in March," market research company GfK said in a statement.

Income expectations, as well as consumers' willingness to spend have also taken a knock, even if they remain at a high level overall.

"Worldwide economic risks, particularly the economic decline in Germany's important export partners, such as China and the US, have not left consumers unaffected," GfK said.

2016 outlook remains positive

Nevertheless, the market research company said, on the whole, Germany's consumer climate outlook remained positive in the long-term, and that the forecast for April represented a small dip.

Private consumption has become the main driver of economic growth in Germany, with the report noting that high employment and increasing remuneration would continue to support that trend.

Real wages in Germany rose 2.4 percent last year compared to 2014, which is the biggest rise in seven years.

Given expectations that high employment will continue and energy prices will remain low, the outlook for consumption for 2016 remains positive. GfK said it expects overall consumer spending in 2016 forecast to rise by about 2 percent.

It surveyed around 2,000 consumers in its monthly report.

hch/cjc (dpa, GfK, Reuters)

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