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Business

German consumers unfazed by volatile global economy

Germans have no intention of ending their current shopping spree. Market researchers reported consumers in the country looked to the future with confidence, retaining their willingness to spend more on goods.

GfK market researchers said Wednesday their forward-looking monthly index gauging German consumer confidence remained unchanged at 9.4 points for February.

Its poll among 2,000 households revealed consumers in Europe's powerhouse looked largely unfazed by what experts described as growing economic risks globally.

They pointed to a growth slowdown in China and other emerging economies, recent stock market routs and an unresolved refugee crisis in Europe - a poisonous combination that could have easily lowered consumers' willingness to spend money on goods and services.

Bucking the trend

But none of that happened. "Consumers keep defying rising economic risks," GfK's Rolf Bürkl said in a statement, adding that "consumer confidence

stabilizes at a high level."

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The experts said there was an increase in people's resolve to buy big-ticket items such as expensive furniture and cars.

GfK attributed the trend to Germany's robust labor market, with record-high employment easing people's fears of losing their jobs. Also, extremely low interest rates provided little motivation for people to save more money.

Most analysts believe that private consumption will once again be the main driver of growth in Germany this year. By contrast, exporters are expected to suffer amid weaker markets in China and elsewhere and sluggish investments due to a feeble business environment.

hg/cjc (dpa, Reuters)

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