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French households remained untroubled by the prospect of a major electoral shock in three months’ time, with a key gauge of consumer confidence holding steady at a decade-high in February.
Insee’s official measure of sentiment among spenders remained at 100 for the second consecutive month, despite market jitters about the prospect of a Marine Le Pen victory that would shake the EU’s established order. The gauge is at its highest since 2007 and around its long-term average.
The National Front leader, who is leading in first round voting intentions, is vowing to take France out of the eurozone. Her ascendancy has seen investors sell French government bonds and demand the highest premium in four years to hold the country’s debt over Germany’s.
Still, surveys this month show both French consumers and businesses in relatively sanguine mood.
Insee said consumer expectations of their finances and employment prospects remained stable this month while more spenders said they thought it was a better time to make a major purchase. It comes as French inflation has hit a four-year high at the start of 2017, likely pushing forward consumer buying intentions.
Insee’s measure of sentiment in the private sector also held steady in February at 103, while separate surveys of manufacturers point to French factories enjoying their best month in three years.