June 28, 2017 / 7:26 AM / 9 months ago

French consumer confidence hits 10-year high on election surge

PARIS (Reuters) - French consumer confidence hit a 10-year high in June, exceeding expectations by a long-shot following a surge in morale after the presidential election, data from the official INSEE statistics agency showed on Wednesday.

Outside view of Tati's historic store, the iconic cut-price shop at Barbes station, in Paris, France, June 19, 2017. Picture taken June 19, 2017. REUTERS/Charles Platiau

INSEE said its monthly consumer confidence index rose to 108 points from 103 points in May, when voters elected Emmanuel Macron as France’s youngest leader since Napoleon.

The statistics agency said that big jumps in household optimism are common around presidential elections, yet June’s spike was nevertheless the biggest monthly increase since Nicolas Sarkozy was elected president in May 2007.

It also smashed expectations for a reading of 103 on average in a Reuters poll of 16 economists, topping even the highest estimate of 105 from German bank LBB. FRCONC=ECI

INSEE said French households’ confidence about their personal financial situations and standard of living had reached levels not seen since mid 2007.

Meanwhile, concerns about unemployment continued to ease even though the labour market has been showing only a choppy recovery in recent months.

While surging household confidence has so far not translated into exceptionally strong consumer spending, it nonetheless adds to growing signs the economy has been picking up speed.

INSEE having revised its first quarter economic growth forecast up to 0.5 percent from 0.4 percent earlier this month, and forecast that it would likely keep up that pace through the second and third quarter.

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

- For a graphic: reut.rs/2j4DCHX

Reporting by Sudip Kar-Gupta and Leigh Thomas; Editing by Maya Nikolaeva

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