German consumers are feeling less confident about the future even though they are more hopeful about their future income prospects.

The monthly consumer climate index compiled by the GfK research institute is 5.6 points for January, down from 5.8 for December.

GfK said today that although income expectations increased slightly, its indexes measuring economic expectations and willingness to buy fell.

It said the growing pessimism has been fed by the European debt crisis that consumers expect will increasingly affect Germany.

Europe's biggest economy has bucked the economic trend on the continent in recent years with healthy growth and low unemployment.