November 27, 2018 / 10:47 AM / 13 days ago

French consumer confidence falls in November to lowest since February 2015

FILE PHOTO: Customers shop inside the casual clothing store Uniqlo operated by Japan's Fast Retailing in Paris in this October 6, 2009. REUTERS/Charles Platiau/File Photo

PARIS (Reuters) - French consumer confidence fell in November to its lowest level since February 2015, according to data from the official statistics agency INSEE, another sign of sluggishness in the euro zone’s second-biggest economy.

The November reading for consumer confidence fell to 92 points from 95 in October. A Reuters poll of eight economists had an average forecast of 94 points for the November level. FRCONC=ECI

The number of French households expressing concern over unemployment picked up, INSEE said, and worry over inflation grew as oil prices rose. [O/R]

France has been hit over the last week by nationwide protests against tax increases for diesel, which many consumers blame for reducing their spending power.

French President Emmanuel Macron won elections in May 2017 on promises to modernise the country’s economy, but he is increasingly running into resistance as voters become impatient to see the benefits of his reforms.

“Like much of the rest of Europe, the French economy is slowing down,” said Jerome Schupp, fund manager at Geneva-based Prime Partners.

“I am currently avoiding stocks with a big exposure to the domestic French economy such as the supermarket firms Casino and Carrefour and instead backing the more internationally exposed stocks such as Danone, L’Oreal and Total,” Schupp said.

For more details and a breakdown from INSEE: here

Reporting by Sudip Kar-Gupta; editing by Michel Rose, Larry King

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