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The Canadian Press - ONLINE EDITION

German consumers increasingly confident as economy picks up speed

BERLIN - German consumers are continuing to look ahead optimistically in 2014 as Europe's largest economy's growth accelerates.

The forward-looking GfK consumer climate survey released Wednesday rose to 8.5 points for March, following a revised 8.3 in February.

The research institute says income expectations improved upon an already high value in the previous survey and consumers' willingness to buy dropped slightly but remained at a high level. Their economic expectations dropped slightly after five consecutive increases, but GfK says the trend remains upward.

GfK, whose study is based on around 2,000 interviews, says consumers "are still confident that the German economy has overcome its weak phase in the previous year and is entering a solid upswing."

Germany's economy grew 0.4 per cent in 2013 but the government predicts 1.8 per cent 2014 growth.

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