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German monthly retail sales unexpectedly drop in March
[BERLIN] German monthly retail sales unexpectedly fell in March, data showed on Monday, marking a fourth consecutive drop and dampening cheer around a consumer-led upswing in Europe's biggest economy.
The volatile indicator, which is often subject to revision, showed retail sales decreased by 0.6 per cent on the month in real terms, the Federal Statistics Office said.
That confounded the Reuters consensus forecast for a 0.8 per cent rise and followed an upwardly revised drop of 0.2 per cent in February.
Private consumption has been a key growth driver in recent years as consumers benefit from rising wages, record-high employment and strong job security, but foreign trade propelled Germany's fourth-quarter growth.
On the year, retail sales climbed by 1.3 per cent, beating a Reuters consensus forecast for a 1.0 per cent increase.
The retail sales data came after a GfK survey published last week showed the mood among German consumers fell heading into May amid fears that a possible confrontation between the West and Russia in Syria and protectionist US trade policies could hurt the economy.