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Survey: German consumer confidence rises strongly

BERLIN (AP) -- A survey is showing a significant rise in German consumer confidence as people's expectations for the economy and for their own income improve.

The GfK institute said Friday that its forward-looking consumer climate index rose to 6.5 points for June from 6.2 in May.

The German economy, Europe's biggest, returned to modest growth in the first quarter and the country's central bank said this week that it expects an improvement in the current quarter.

With unemployment low and employees in some sectors recently winning significant pay rises, domestic demand is helping keep the German economy on track even as other countries in Europe struggle.

GfK cautioned that consumer confidence would be vulnerable if Europe's debt crisis escalates again.

A closely watched survey of German business confidence is due later Friday.