French consumers less anxious over spending

5th January 2006, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, Jan 5 (AFP) - French household confidence improved slightly in December to an indexed minus-30 points, from minus-33 in November, a composite indicator by the national statistics institute INSEE showed Thursday.

PARIS, Jan 5 (AFP) -  French household confidence improved slightly in December to an indexed minus-30 points, from minus-33 in November, a composite indicator by the national statistics institute INSEE showed Thursday.

The seasonally adjusted monthly indicator represents the balance in percentage points between consumers having experienced, or expecting, a rise in their living standard and those seeing a decline.

The improvement in consumer sentiment was slightly ahead of expectations, according to analysts polled by AFX News, the AFP financial news service, who had forecast a consensus increase to minus-31 for December.

The November confidence reading of minus-33 was the lowest since late 2003, and followed a minus-30 points in October.

Commenting on the improvement in December, an analyst at economics consultancy Xerfi, Nicolas Bouzou, said: "It's not surprising since confidence had fallen to an extremely low level, below which it was difficult to fall more."

An analyst at Exane BNP Paribas, Emmanuel Ferry, said that consumers would remain downbeat in 2006 because of a lacklustre job market and more prudent government spending.

"Households continue to be excessively pessimistic," he said.

For December, INSEE said that all the component indices of the survey had climbed from the previous month. "The most notable trends concerned the readings for past and future personal financial situations," the agency said.

"Households are also a bit more optimistic concerning French standards of living, for the recent past as well as the near future."

The indicator on consumers' past personal financial situations was minus-22 in December compared with minus-26 a month earlier, while the outlook for personal finances climbed to minus-7 from minus-11.

Past French standard of living was minus-65 compared with minus-66 the month before, and the outlook for the French standard of living stood at minus-10 versus minus-13.

The INSEE indicator showing the inclination to buy consumer goods edged up to minus-18 from minus-19 in November.  

Copyright AFP

Subject: French news

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