Dec. 20 (Bloomberg) -- German consumer confidence will hold its gains in January as falling unemployment boosts the economic outlook even as Europe’s debt crisis worsens, GfK SE said.
The Nuremberg-based market research company forecast today that its consumer-sentiment index, based on a survey of about 2,000 people, will remain at 5.6 next month after three straight increases. Economists forecast a decline to 5.5, according to the median of 22 estimates in a Bloomberg News survey.
Unemployment in Europe’s largest economy is at a two-decade low of 6.9 percent, supporting consumer spending and helping to limit the impact of the euro-region turmoil. Business confidence unexpectedly rose for the first time in five months in November. GfK said its measure of households’ economic expectations increased for the first time since July.
“Despite rising economic risks and further escalation of the debt crisis, Germans are once again more optimistic about the future,” it said. “With most German companies operating at above-average capacity, the labor market is very robust and unemployment figures continue to fall.”
GfK’s gauge of economic optimism rose to minus 0.9 in December from minus 7.2 in November, and an index of income expectations increased to 34 from 31.1. While a measure of consumers’ willingness to spend slumped to 27.4 from 40.3, GfK said it is “still at a comparatively high level.”
TUI AG, the German owner of Europe’s largest travel company, said Dec. 14 it expects “moderate growth” next year even as the European economy remains difficult. Pretax profit in the 12 months through September rose to 206.8 million euros ($269 million) from 177.8 million euros a year earlier, the Hanover-based company said.
The Bundesbank predicted yesterday that German economic growth will slow to 0.6 percent in 2012 from 3 percent this year before improving to 1.8 percent in 2013.
--Editors: Fergal O’Brien, Alan Crawford
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