French consumer confidence at 10-year high

On Friday, the French office of national statistics INSEE reported that consumer confidence in France has improved slightly in January, returning to its 2007 long-term average level.

Consumer confidence in January (calculated by INSEE based on a balance of opinions, i.e. the difference between the share of positive and negative responses) in fact gained one point over December, to reach the 100 points threshold, a level never reached since the 2008 financial crisis.

The INSEE indicator derives from answers to two main categories of survey questions: one covering each household's personal situation, and the other covering consumers' perceptions of the general economic situation.

In January, the perception of French households about their individual future financial situation gained three points, rising back to its average long-term value of 100 points, stated INSEE in a press release.

The share of households believing it is a good time to make significant purchases has remained virtually stable, well above its long-term average, while the households' balance of opinion on their future ability to save also remained identical, though there was an increase compared to December in those who believed "it is useful to save money".

In terms of the general economic situation, the survey revealed that households are moderately confident as to their prospective living standards in France, with the balance of opinions nearly stable (-1 point) at its long-term average value.

The fear of unemployment has instead strongly diminished, after taking a first plunge last October, and according to INSEE it is at its lowest level since June 2008.

Household confidence is a key element for evaluating future consumption levels, a key growth driver, in France and elsewhere, alongside investment. 

Translated by Nicola Mira

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