BERLIN: Consumers in Germany have grown more pessimistic regarding the domestic economy and their salary expectations, but this has not dampened the overall willingness to buy, new figures show.

GfK, the research firm, polled 2,000 adults, and found that its forward-looking barometer of popular sentiment stood at 5.9 points for August, measured against 5.8 points in July.

The index covering the economic outlook fell for the second successive month, off from +3 points to -5.6 points. This was the first time this total had slipped into negative territory since December.

"The ongoing banking and debt crisis in Europe is causing the economic optimism of Germans to fade," the study suggested.

"Consumers are increasingly fearful that the German economy will now also be drawn into the crisis. A second consecutive clear decline in the economic outlook verifies this trend."

Elsewhere, the reading for income expectations registered a 3.8 point contraction to 36.3 points. This followed an expansion of 8.1 points last month, and means scores here have topped 30 points for two whole years.

"Rising employment and significantly improved income rises in comparison with previous years due to better wage agreements are providing a considerable boost to the mood in relation to income," the study said.

"In addition, inflation recently also dropped below the psychologically important level of two percent, which further strengthens the purchasing power of income."

Despite the fact respondents had become increasingly gloomy about their potential earnings, the willingness to buy index rose for the third successive month, and was up by 3.1 points to 35.8 points.

"Falling unemployment and the resultant income increases are improving planning security," GfK argued. "This is vital for major purchases in particular."

"The lack of trust in financial markets and historically low interest rates mean that saving money does not appeal," it added. "Consequently consumers are more likely to make high-value purchases, such as real estate and also furniture."

Data sourced from GfK; additional content by Warc staff