German consumer confidence at 13-year high despite crises, buoyed by low energy prices

Economic Indicators Associated Press

A closely watched survey shows German consumers are increasingly optimistic despite the crisis in Ukraine and Greece's fiscal woes, in large part because their disposable incomes have increased as energy prices have dropped.

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The GfK research group said Thursday its forward-looking consumer climate index rose to 9.7 in March from 9.3 in February. That's the highest value since October 2001.

The survey of 2,000 consumers shows increases in their economic and income expectations, as well as their willingness to buy as "the collapse in energy prices is boosting the purchasing power of private households."

GfK says "at present, German consumers are seemingly not greatly affected by the recent escalation of the situation in eastern Ukraine, the ongoing tensions between Russia and the West as well as events in Greece."