Consumer temper additional dampened: Is “fearful saving” now coming? | EUROtoday

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As of: March 26, 2024 4:28 p.m

Save cash or spend cash? The Germans have been answering this query for a while now with “saving money” – regardless of greater wages and slower inflation. Where does the reluctance come from?

Sebastian Schreiber

The economics textbooks are filled with equations and relationships – considered one of which is: If shoppers have extra money at their disposal, then they will afford extra, and that stimulates consumption. Or not?

“According to the economics textbook, this is how it should be,” confirms Carsten Brzeski, chief economist at ING Bank. “We will get a really big increase in real wage growth again this year.” But there may be one caveat: “We are of course now coming from several years in which consumers have also suffered a loss of real wages and purchasing power. That means it is just compensation for what was lost in the last few years.”

Last yr, actual wages rose barely once more for the primary time since 2019. The Federal Statistical Office calculated this. This signifies that folks had a bit extra money on common, even minus inflation. This yr the rise is more likely to be bigger.

“The consumer is simply unsettled”

But it takes time for this to get into folks's minds. Brzeski assumes {that a} psychological impact that the economist calls “fear saving” is presently coming into play. “I therefore assume that many consumers will say to themselves: 'Let's build up the savings and security buffer again before we spend the money again on consumption and services'.”

The latest sharp rise in costs additionally performs a task, explains Jörg Funder. He is a professor of commerce on the University of Worms. Consumers are nonetheless not sure whether or not they are going to face additional value will increase.

“Be it energy prices, be it fuel prices, be it renovation measures – the consumer is simply unsettled,” says Funder. “It needs stability, it needs reliability. And that is something that is only slowly building up and where the German consumer is still very skeptical and uncertain about what lies ahead.”

Purchase reluctance paralyzes the economic system

This growth can be mirrored within the figures offered month-to-month by the patron researchers at GfK and the Nuremberg Institute for Market Decisions. Looking forward to April, the temper amongst shoppers solely brightened barely. The complete business is affected by the poor client local weather, says retail skilled Funder. This is obvious in on-line retail in addition to in stationary shops: “Overall, we see a reluctance to buy everything that does not concern everyday needs.”

The reluctance to eat can be paralyzing the whole German economic system. The share of personal spending accounts for round half of the gross home product in Germany. Although that is far lower than within the USA, for instance, the German economic system additionally relies upon largely on client items. Many economists anticipate that the German economic system won’t develop in any respect or solely develop little or no this yr.

Better client temper in all probability solely within the second half of the yr

Can consumption quickly be a assist? “Of course we still have a lot of uncertainty. We still have decent savings interest rates,” factors out ING chief economist Brzeski. “I'm a bit afraid that we'll see more 'fear saving' this year – and not the big upswing in consumption that we need to get the overall economy back on track.”

Economists might even see enchancment within the second half of the yr. The European Central Bank may additionally assist with falling rates of interest. These, in flip, may make investments extra reasonably priced – and maybe additionally loosen shoppers' wallets a bit.

Sebastian Schreiber, tagesschau, March 26, 2024 4:02 p.m