December 20, 2018 / 9:10 AM / a month ago

German real wages rise at fastest pace in two years

FILE PHOTO: A man arrives with his shopping cart at the cashier area of one of the top three cash and carry markets of Metro AG in Sankt Augustin near Bonn March 18, 2013. REUTERS/Wolfgang Rattay

BERLIN (Reuters) - Real wages in Germany rose by 1.5 percent in the third quarter, the strongest increase in two years, indicating that household spending continued to support growth in Europe’s biggest economy in the second half of the year.

Fears about trade friction, the effects of Brexit and a weaker global economy are hitting the outlook for export-oriented Germany and economists are scaling back their forecasts, making domestic demand more important.

The Statistics Office said nominal wages were up 3.6 percent between July and September from the year ago period, the strongest increase since the second quarter of 2011, while consumer prices climbed 2.1 percent from the previous year.

The biggest increases were in the property, culture and entertainment sectors while earnings in education and other service areas fell short of the average.

Gross average earnings were 4,013 euros per month in western German states and 3,173 euros in the former Communist East, said the Office.

Last week the Bundesbank cut its forecasts for growth in Germany this year to 1.5 percent from 2.0 percent and for next year to 1.6 percent from 1.9 percent.

Reporting by Madeline Chambers; Editing by Janet Lawrence

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