France: Consumer sentiment plummets to near one-year low in April
In April, consumer sentiment declined to 95 from 103 in March, according to the Statistical Institute (INSEE). As such, the index fell below the 100-threshold—its long-term average—for the first time in 11 months.
Consumers’ expected standards of living deteriorated sharply in March, as well as their intentions to purchase big-ticket household items. Moreover, they grew more concerned about their financial situation in the year ahead, amid growing fears of unemployment ahead. On the upside, sentiment regarding consumer prices in the coming 12 months turned positive.
Regarding the prospects for unemployment ahead, Julien Manceaux, senior economist at ING, noted:
“Unemployment increased by 246k in March. […] This is only the beginning. The April figure is likely to be more than twice as bad (in the high 600k). We believe that the unemployment rate should end 2020 at 10%, up from 8.5% at the end of 2019. This would mean that the unemployed population at year-end would still be higher by 700k than in February. This figure is likely to be surpassed in the short term, while the recovery expected for 2H20 should bring it down significantly.”