German Consumer Confidence Unchanged In April

GfK research group says its forward looking consumer confidence survey is unchanged for April as consumers continue to refrain from spending.

FRANKFURT (AP) -- German consumer confidence for April was steady compared with March, according to the GfK survey Thursday, as an improved outlook on the economy, labor market and income was offset by a small decline in spending.

The GfK, based in Nuremberg, said the survey remained at the 3.2 points registered in March, when it had fallen for a fifth consecutive month, as consumers in Europe's largest economy worried about jobs and the implications of the debt crisis in other European countries, like Greece.

The improvements in April were mitigated by a drop in spending, due mainly to an increase in the price of fuels.

The GfK said that despite the lingering problems with other European countries, the German labor market proved robust.

"Generally feared severe job reductions have not materialized," the report said.

"This stability, in conjunction with increasing signs of a recovery in the German economy, are currently triggering a significant rise in economic optimism among Germans," the GfK said.

The group said that Germans were also confident about their incomes improving. With the labor situation developing more favorably than expected, measures like the government allowances for tax deductions on children and health insurance contributions were also having a positive effect on income sentiment, it said.

Earlier this week, another leading German survey showed an increase in German business confidence.

The Ifo Institute's survey, viewed by many as a barometer for the economic outlook in Germany, said expectations for the coming six months had improved, as had the business climate in all sectors.

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