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French consumer confidence goes back to pre-yellow vest levels

By Marjorie van Elven


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French consumer confidence increased again in February, reaching its highest level (95 points) since November, when the “yellow vests” protests started in the country, causing over 1 billion euros in losses as many retailers were forced to close doors. That’s according to a new report by France’s National Statistics and Economic Studies Office (INSEE, in the French acronym), which conducts monthly assessments of consumers’ opinions about the country’s economic situation.

According to INSEE, unemployment fears decreased sharply among French consumers in February, dropping 20 points after three consecutive months of increase. The share of households considering that the standard of living improved in the past 12 months has also increased by 6 points, although it remains below the long term average.

These results reflect president Emmanuel Macron’s recovering popularity after he made a U-turn in the planned fuel taxes which sparked the protests, reduced taxes on overtime and promised a minimum wage raise and greater farmer protection. An opinion poll published this week by Odoxa showed 32 percent of French people consider Macron to be a good president, up from 27 percent in December. The yellow vests protests are cooling down too: although they are still taking place every Saturday, only 46,000 people took part in the last one, down from 280,000 on the first weekend.

Consumer Confidence
Emmanuel Macron
Yellow vests