Germany Retail Sales Growth Accelerates; Unemployment Falls

Germany’s retail sales growth accelerated in August and unemployment declined in September signaling signs of recovery from the coronavirus driven downturn, official data revealed Wednesday.

Data from Destatis showed that retail sales advanced by real 3.1 percent month-on-month, reversing a 0.2 percent fall in July and much faster than economists’ forecast of 0.4 percent rise.

On a yearly basis, retail sales growth moderated to 3.7 percent from 5 percent in the previous month. Sales were expected to advance 4.2 percent.

Food, beverages and tobacco grew 2.6 percent and non-food product sales climbed 4.5 percent.

In comparison to February, the month before the outbreak of Covid-19 in Germany, the turnover was 5.8 percent higher, data showed.

Another report showed that import prices continued to fall in August though the pace of decline slowed further. Import prices decreased 4 percent annually, following a 4.6 percent decrease in July. Economists had forecast a decrease of 4.1 percent.

Excluding crude oil and mineral oil products, import prices decreased by 2.0 percent compared with last year.

On a monthly basis, import price inflation slowed to 0.1 percent from 0.3 percent in July. The expected rate was 0.2 percent.

At the same time, export prices logged a steady annual fall of 1.1 percent in August. On month, export prices decreased 0.1 percent.

Data from the Federal Labor Agency showed that the number of people out of work decreased 8,000 in September from the last month, which was in line with expectations. Unemployment had decreased 9,000 in August.

The jobless rate fell marginally to a seasonally adjusted 6.3 percent, while the rate was forecast to remain unchanged at 6.4 percent.

Unemployment increased at the usual rate in August; as in July, but no additional increase was caused by the corona crisis, Federal Employment Agency CEO Detlef Scheele said. However, the effects of the pandemic on the labor market are still clearly visible.

According to labor force survey, the unemployment rate remained unchanged at 4.4 percent in August. Results of the labour force survey showed that 2.02 million people were unemployed in August. That was an increase of 35,000, or 2 percent compared with July.

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