German Consumer Confidence to Stall After 2 Months of Gains in August

Germany’s[B] GfK Consumer Confidence[/B] gauge is expected to stall at 2.9 in August after rising for two consecutive months in June and July. Last month, the market research firm commented that, “Reports that the inflation rate stood at zero percent in May are having a positive effect on income expectations and the propensity to buy.” Although falling prices stand to boost spending in the short term, entrenching expectations of deflation will work against consumption, encouraging people to wait for the best possible bargain and perpetually put off purchases. Clearly, this threatens firms’ revenues and darkens the outlook for employment, which in turn can reasonably be expected to put the brakes on any rebound in consumer sentiment. Most worryingly, the onset of deflation may already be at hand, with Germany’s Consumer Price Index set to show later this week that the annual pace of inflation turned negative for the first time in 23 years.