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Economy in Brief

French Household Confidence Reverses its Upswing
by Robert Brusca July 31, 2007

French household confidence stumbled by three points taking the aggregate reading to its lowest point since April of this year. The overall index resides near mid range among all values since 1990. Expected improvement in living standards and drops in unemployment are two of the factors boosting this index. Consumers say they have the ability to save over the next 12 months and that is an extremely strong response on their part, in the top 7 percent of this historic range. Consumers rate the times as slightly more favorable for spending than they did last month with a net response of -4 compared to -6, a value that ranks in about the top third of its range. Still, consumers rate their current financial situation as below average in only about the 42nd percentile of its range. That is a slippage from the 52nd percentile over the past 12 months; for the next 12 months, consumers expect an improvement putting their response in the 63rd percentile of its range near the upper third.

On balance, the responses by the French consumers are showing slippage. One of the main drivers holding things in place is the improvement that consumers have seen and continue to expect in unemployment. Consumers remain upbeat that their financial situation is going to improve despite this month’s slippage in the overall index.

INSEE Household Monthly Survey
    Since Jan 1990 Since Jan 1990
  Jul-07 Jun-07 May-07 Apr-07 Percentile Rank Max Min Range Mean
Household Confidence -15 -12 -13 -20 54.5 51 5 -39 44 -21
Living Standards
past 12-Mos -45 -45 -49 -55 39.5 60 1 -75 76 -50
Next 12-Mos -9 -3 0 -16 71.4 33 7 -49 56 -25
Unemployment: Next 12 -9 -9 -12 4 16.2 193 84 -27 111 40
Price Developments
Past 12-Mos -2 -7 -4 0 69.3 58 29 -72 101 -32
Next 12-Mos -28 -30 -43 -35 35.2 42 31 -60 91 -34
Savings
Favorable to save 32 34 30 26 44.3 162 66 5 61 43
Ability to save Next 12 -4 -4 -2 -9 94.4 3 -2 -38 36 -20
Spending
Favorable for major purchase -4 -6 -9 -12 67.8 43 15 -44 59 -14
Financial Situation
Current 14 14 16 12 42.9 79 26 5 21 14
Past 12-Mos -14 -11 -15 -18 52.2 83 -3 -26 23 -14
Next 12-Mos -1 3 7 -1 63.0 86 9 -18 27 -2
  Number of observations in the period 208          
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