German consumer sentiment improved more than expected heading into July as shoppers became more optimistic following the lifting of lockdown measures and a drop off in coronavirus cases, a GfK survey has shown.
GfK's consumer sentiment index, based on a survey of around 2,000 Germans, rose to -0.3 points, its highest level since August last year and higher than a revised reading of -6.9 points in the previous month.
The reading beat a Reuters forecast for a smaller rise to -4.0 points.
Consumers were far more optimistic regarding their personal income situation as well as overall economic development, the study showed.
Shoppers' expectations for the economy hit the highest level in ten years, reaching 58.4 points. German consumers' propensity to buy, however, rose only moderately.
Certain Industries Still Restricted
"Despite the opening or withdrawal of restrictions, a number of industries - especially in the services sector - are still severely restricted," GfK consumer expert Rolf Buerkl said in a statement. "This makes a noticeable recovery in private consumption in the second half of 2021 more likely."
The consumer climate indicator forecasts the development of real private consumption in the following month. An indicator reading above zero signals year-on-year growth in private consumption. A value below zero indicates a drop compared with the same period a year ago.
According to GfK, a one-point change in the indicator corresponds to a year-on-year change of 0.1% in private consumption.
The "willingness to buy" indicator represents the balance between positive and negative responses to the question: "Do you think now is a good time to buy major items?"
The income expectations sub-index reflects expectations about the development of household finances in the coming 12 months The additional business cycle expectations index reflects the assessment of those questioned of the general economic situation in the next 12 months.