Improvement in French consumer confidence

29 Jan 2019

consumerConsumer confidence in France increased to a higher level than forecast in January, following a slump in the last month – survey data from the statistical office INSEE revealed on Tuesday.

Despite economists having forecast a score of 88 for January, the consumer sentiment index increased to 91 from 86 in December – being the lowest since October 2014. In November, the reading was 91.

According to INSEE, the time of year had majorly impacted these results, as French department stores held their New Year sales and consumers must have felt it was a good time to make purchases.

Investment bank JP Morgan said: “The decline around the end of last year was linked to the “yellow vest” protests, in our view. And the sharp rebound in January suggests a normalization process is under way.”

However, INSEE pointed out that January’s consumer confidence level was still less than the long-term average of 100 points, and yellow vest protests have also caused concerns surrounding the French economy’s near future.

Moody’s credit rating agency on Tuesday announced that the protests could potentially affect the French economy negatively, while the government forecast 1.7% growth for 2019.

Clairinvest fund manager Ion-Marc Valahu said, “I have to say, I am surprised by the pick-up in consumer confidence for January, given that every weekend you see pictures of shops being closed and damage being done.”