April 30, 2018 / 6:17 AM / 25 days ago

German monthly retail sales unexpectedly drop in March

BERLIN, April 30 (Reuters) - 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 percent on the month in real terms, the Federal Statistics Office said.

That confounded the Reuters consensus forecast for a 0.8 percent rise and followed an upwardly revised drop of 0.2 percent 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 percent, beating a Reuters consensus forecast for a 1.0 percent 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 U.S. trade policies could hurt the economy. (Reporting by Michelle Martin Editing by Paul Carrel)

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