Consumer climate: uncertainty up slightly

Results of a GfK consumer climate survey carried out in October 2004 In general, German consumers were not particularly optimistic about the economy or their personal situation at the beginning of the final quarter for 2004. After September's slight rise, the indicators recording consumer mood fell back somewhat. The indicator for economic expectations was 4.6 points down on last month and is now around minus 16.5, which is 6 points lower than the same period previous year. And so any substantial revival of the expectations for economic growth seems to have receded further into the distance again for the moment.

In terms of earnings expectations have continued to fluctuate in both directions into autumn. In October, the indicator dropped 3.2 points to a minus value of 15.5. With a drop of 1.2 points down from the previous month, the propensity to purchase indicator fell negligibly by comparison with the indicators for expectations concerning the economy and personal income and economic climate. The value for October is minus 28.6 points. This year, positive development of the propensity to make larger purchases in the immediate future, can no longer be anticipated.

Despite the slightly regressive development of the indicators denoting economic and income expectations and the propensity to purchase, the consumer climate for November has stabilized at around the previous month's level. This is mainly attributable to the fact that Germans are increasingly disinclined to save and this has had a positive effect on the consumer climate. After a revised forecast of 2.3 for October 2004, the indicator forecast for November is 2.3. Given the difficult economic climate and in particular, the disadvantageous job market conditions, an improvement in domestic demand can hardly be expected.