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German Retail Sales Unexpectedly Fall

Published: March 2, 2012 | 9:07 am
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German retail sales unexpectedly declined in January as rising oil prices fueled inflation.

Sales, adjusted for inflation and seasonal swings, fell 1.6 percent from December, when they increased 0.1 percent, the Federal Statistics Office in Wiesbaden said today. Economists forecast a gain of 0.5 percent, the median of 22 estimates in a Bloomberg News survey showed. Sales (GRFRINYY) rose 1.6 percent from a year ago.

Europe’s debt crisis is curbing growth across the euro area, Germany’s largest export market, and higher energy costs pushed inflation to 2.5 percent last month. Still, unemployment is running at a two-decade low and recent data suggest the country may avoid a recession. Consumer confidence will increase to a 12-month high in March, GfK SE (GFK) predicted this week.

“There are still worries with regard to the rising oil price and that may keep consumption in check,” said Thomas Costerg, an economist at Standard Chartered Bank in London.

“But there has been some good news with regard to the European debt crisis and that may support sentiment.”

German companies may create as many as 250,000 new jobs this year, the DIHK national industry and trade chambers said on Feb. 17, citing a survey. Beiersdorf AG (BEI), the German maker of Nivea skin creams, yesterday forecast a resumption of profitability growth this year.

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