German investor morale surges on shopping spree expectations

BERLIN (Reuters) – Investor morale in Germany rose beyond even the most optimistic forecast in February on expectations consumption will take off in the coming months, the ZEW economic research institute said on Tuesday, buoying the outlook for Europe’s largest economy.

FILE PHOTO: Kaufinger Strasse stores are seen closed due to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic in Munich, Germany, February 5, 2021. Picture taken February 5, 2021. REUTERS/Michaela Rehle/File Photo

The ZEW said its survey of investors’ economic sentiment showed a rise to 71.2 points from 61.8 the previous month. A Reuters poll had pointed to a fall to 59.6, and the February reading surpassed even the highest forecast, of 68.0.

“The financial market experts are optimistic about the future. They are confident that the German economy will be back on the growth track within the next six months,” ZEW President Achim Wambach said in a statement.

“Consumption and retail trade in particular are expected to recover significantly, accompanied by higher inflation expectations,” he added.

A separate gauge of current conditions eased to -67.2 from -66.4 the previous month. That compared with a consensus forecast of -67.0 points.

The expectations rise boosted the euro.

The Economy Ministry said on Monday lockdown measures to slow the spread of the new coronavirus in Germany will continue to weigh on the economy in the first quarter of 2021, but prospects for exporters are cautiously positive.

Chancellor Angela Merkel and the premiers of Germany’s states agreed last Wednesday to extend restrictions to curb the spread of the coronavirus until March 7.

German exports rose in December as solid trade with China and the United States helped the economy as it struggles to grow under the lockdown restrictions.

Last week, German conglomerate Thyssenkrupp raised its full-year outlook for the first time in nearly four years, and CEO Martina Merz said “we’re noticing signs of an economic recovery”.

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