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French consumer spending falls further in March

Staff Writer |
France's consumer spending decreased for the second straight month in March, defying economists' expectations for an increase, figures from the statistical office INSEE showed.

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Consumer spending dropped 0.4% month-over-month in March, following a 0.7% drop in February, revised from a 0.8% fall reported earlier. Meanwhile, it was forecast to rise by 0.1%.

Energy consumption continued to decline in March, but at a slower pace of 1.8% after a 10.9% sharp fall in the prior month. Consumption of food products edged down 0.3% over the month.

On a yearly basis, consumer spending slid 1.0% yearly in March, confounding economists' forecast for an increase of 0.9%.

French inflation accelerated slightly, as expected, in April, the provisional estimate from the statistical office Insee showed Friday.

Consumer price inflation rose marginally to 1.2% in April from 1.1% in March. The annual rate came in line with expectations.

This slight increase in inflation came from a smaller drop in manufactured product prices, partly offset by a slight deceleration in the prices of energy, food and services, Insee said.

At the same time, the harmonized inflation held steady at 1.4% in April, in line with forecast.

Month-on-month, consumer prices edged up 0.1% versus a 0.6% rise in March. This sharp slowdown was driven by that of manufactured product prices, which was seasonal.

The harmonized index of consumer prices climbed only 0.1% after rising 0.7% in March.

Another report from the statistical office Insee showed that producer prices decreased 0.5% on a monthly basis in March versus a 0.3% fall in February.

On a yearly basis, producer prices advanced 2.9%.

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