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Oct. 22, 2020, 2:18 a.m. EDT

German consumer sentiment set to fall in November

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By Maria Martinez

German consumer sentiment is set to fall in November, as the optimism of German consumers is fading, market-research group GfK said Thursday.

GfK's forward-looking consumer-sentiment index is set to fall to minus 3.1 points in November from a revised minus 1.7 points in October. Economists surveyed by The Wall Street Journal had forecast minus 3.0 points for November.

Around three-quarters of consumers currently assume that Covid-19 poses a major or very major threat, and about half are concerned or very concerned about their personal future, GfK said.

The significant recovery seen in consumer sentiment at the start of the summer has come to a standstill and is causing the consumer climate to plummet once more, Rolf Buerkl, consumer expert at GfK, said.

"The rapid increase in infection rates is leading to a tightening of restrictions brought on by the pandemic, and fear of a second lockdown should infections get out of control in the coming winter months is also increasing," Mr. Buerkl said.

GfK uses data from three subindexes from the current month to derive a sentiment figure for the coming month, measuring economic expectations, income expectations and propensity to buy. In October, the three subindexes suffered losses.

Economic expectations among Germans is the biggest loser among sentiment indicators in October, falling to 7.1 points from 24.1 points in September.

"Consumers are apparently assuming that the quick recovery of the economy that had been hoped for previously is slowing due to the increased and rapid spread of infections in Germany," GfK said.

Propensity to buy underwent a mild decline in the wake of a fall in economic outlook, falling to 37.0 points in October from 38.4 points in September.

"If concerns over job losses increase in the future as a result of the pandemic, consumers will be more careful when it comes to their purchases," GfK said.

Consumer income expectations suffered a significant decline, falling to 9.8 points in October from 16.1 points the previous month.

Write to Maria Martinez at maria.martinez@wsj.com

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