Morale among consumers lifts in Germany

CONSUMER sentiment in Germany is set to improve for the fifth consecutive month in February, according to survey data released yesterday by GfK.

And French consumers became slightly less pessimistic in December, official statistics agency Insee said. However, Italian confidence remains at its lowest level in 16 years.

The GfK economic expectations index for Germany rose sharply from minus 0.9 in December to 7.5 in January, though it remains well below the 58.8 seen in January 2011. The consumer willingness to buy index rose from 27.4 last month to 41.8 this month, matching its level a year ago.

Meanwhile Italy’s Istat reported a confidence index of 91.6, the same as last month’s figure and the lowest since January 1996. The index is based on 2005’s figure of 100.

French consumer confidence rose from 80 to 81 points in the month to January, remaining below its long-term average of 100.

“French households are struggling to recover from the ongoing crisis despite stronger growth in 2010 and 2011,” said Barclays Capital’s Marion Laboure. “Looking ahead, we see little room for improvement as long as growth remains low and uncertainty continues around the sovereign crisis.”