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Economy in Brief

GfK Confidence Is Steady for Germany in August
by Robert Brusca  July 28, 2021

German confidence has a -0.3 reading projected for August, the same as for July. At that level, German confidence is relatively weak with a lower 12.4 percentile queue standing. At this level, the German confidence reading also is at the 66.9 percentile of its all-time high-low range. Confidence in Germany is struggling and lacks momentum.

The GfK survey projects confidence for the month ahead near the end of the previous month. Components for the GfK index are only available through July despite the August overall reading. In July, economic and income expectations fell back as the 'propensity to buy' index ticked higher. Economic expectations actually remain quite strong, in the 95th percentile of their historically ranked data. Income expectations are only at their median at a 50th percentile standing. The propensity to buy index has a much weaker 35.6 percentile rank standing.

Economic and income expectations were very weak in April; since then they made a jump in May and further solid gains in June then both settled lower in July. The propensity to buy index had a very different path, actually weakening in May, then ticking higher in the next two months.

Other countries
Italy, France, and the U.K. have up to date confidence readings through July. All of them have stronger relative readings (higher rankings over the same period as for the GfK index) compared to Germany. Italy has a 97.8 percentile standing. France has an 81.1 percentile standing. The U.K. has a 62.7 percentile standing. These ranking are much stronger than for the German headline measure. Confidence in Italy and in the U.K. rose in July while confidence in France fell back. From April all three countries show sizeable gains, much like Germany.

The virus continues to be a problem. But the U.K. is dropping quarantine requirements in the face of this challenge for those visitors who enter and are fully vaccinated. Virus policies are in the mix and are shifting again as the Delta variant spreads infection in an unexpected wave in mid-summer.

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