German Consumer Confidence Falls for Fourth Month

Consumer confidence in Germany fell for the fourth consecutive month despite the end-of-the-year holiday season, driven by fears surrounding the strong euro and high prices, according to a survey released Wednesday.

The GfK research group said its consumer climate indicator for December stood at 4.3 points -- down from a revised 4.8 points in November.

The group attributed the decline to "well-know economic risk factors, such as the strong euro, turbulence on the international financial markets and high food and energy prices."

A "sense of impending inflation" is currently influencing German consumers but other positive factors, such as the sustained improvement on the job market and rising incomes seem "unable to prevent the evaporation of optimism," the group said in its reports, noting that such fears outweighed slightly higher income expectations.

The GfK report came a day after Germany's Ifo Institute reported that business confidence in Germany rose in November for the first time since April.

Germany's Ifo institute said its business climate index rose slightly to 104.2 from 103.9 in October, after slipping for six straight months, as companies assessed their current situation more positively than in October, but were "somewhat more cautious" regarding the six-month business outlook.

But analysts warned against reading too much into the upbeat Ifo report, saying the overall trend of confidence is still down and heading lower, driven by the persistently strong euro and inflation concerns.