French confidence at rock bottom

French confidence at rock bottom
Photo: Sacratomato hr
The French have rarely been as pessimistic about their future, according to data released on Friday, raising concerns they may cut back on consumption, the only remaining prop to economic growth in the country.

In October the French consumer confidence index fell one point over the month to hit 84 points, the INSEE national statistics agency said Friday.

The long-range average of the index is set at 100 points.

The index, which is an indicator of confidence of households and a guide to future spending, has fallen by seven points since May as pessimism sets in among French consumers.

The outlook of French consumers on their future financial situation dropped by 4 points, to a reading of minus 25 points.

Their outlook about future livings standards in France dropped another 3 points in October, for a cumulative drop of 28 points since June to touch the record low of minus 59 points set last November.

The growing pessimism about their future is prompting French consumers to try to put some money aside rather than spend.

"There are more households which feel it better to save," said INSEE, noting a 10 point gain in that sub-index since July.

"The increase in savings is a rather bad sign, in the sense that households are confronted with increases in unemployment and taxes which is leading them to save as a precaution," BNP Paribas bank economist Hélène Baudchon told AFP.

 "This will likely end up weighing on household consumption," she added.

Private consumption is currently the only sector still supporting growth in France.

The French economy has stalled with zero growth the past three quarters, and the government is counting on 0.8 percent growth next year to meet its EU commitments of pushing down the public deficit to 3.0 percent of gross domestic product.

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