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German retail sales volumes were 2.3 per cent higher in January this year than in the same month of 2016, well above the previous month’s annual reading of a 0.4 per cent gain.

Still, that marks a 0.8 per cent contraction from December. (Here’s the full release from Destatis.)

Analysts at Pantheon Macroeconomics described the result as “poor”, noting that the month-on-month reading missed expectations for a 0.3 per cent rise.

A sluggish start to the year for German consumers, but the headline is slightly less downbeat if we factor in the upbeat revisions of the December data. Working-day adjusted sales, however, fell 0.6% year-over-year which is the worst performance since 2013. This doesn’t mean much given the volatility of these data, but it puts us on alert in coming months.

Separately, the German stats office also reported that “asparagus ranked first again in 2016 among German vegetables in terms of area under cultivation”. One for your next pub quiz, there.

(Chart via Pantheon.)

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