February 26, 2019 / 7:52 AM / a month ago

French consumer confidence jumps in February as unemployment fears recede

PARIS, Feb 26 (Reuters) - French consumer confidence jumped in February to 95 points from 92 in January, at the top end of forecasts, the official INSEE statistics agency said on Tuesday, as households’ fears of unemployment fell markedly.

France’s unemployment rate fell unexpectedly at the end of last year to its lowest level since the start of 2009, official data showed earlier this month, offering President Emmanuel Macron some relief on the economics front.

The reading of 95 points marked the highest level for the consumer confidence index since October, which was the month before France’s “Yellow Vests” protesters started to wage weekly demonstrations against high living costs and Macron’s policies.

A Reuters poll of 13 economists had an average forecast of 92 for the February consumer confidence level.

The index, which is not closely correlated to consumer spending trends, hit an all-time low in May and June 2013 of 79. The highest level since the survey was conducted on a monthly basis was 125 in January 2001.

- For more details and a breakdown from INSEE: here (Reporting by Michel Rose; Editing by Sudip Kar-Gupta)

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