French consumers ever gloomier about economy: Survey

PARIS (AFP) - French consumers are deeply pessimistic, being as gloomy as they have ever been since 1987, official data showed on Tuesday.

They are increasingly worried about the outlook for their living standards, a monthly index compiled by the national statistics institute INSEE showed.

The index measures household confidence, which determines the level of household consumption, a key driver of growth in any economy and particularly so in France which is burdened by a big structural trade deficit.

The index in May fell to 79 points from 83 points in April.

This reading is equal to the lowest level reached since 1987, in July 2008, at the height of the financial crisis.

The average for the period from January 1987 to December 2012 was 100 points.

Households, when asked for their view of future living standards in France, gave answers which took this specific measure down another 2.0 points to the absolute lowest level during the reference period.

Households also showed an increasing belief that the unemployment rate, now 11.0 per cent of the workforce, will rise.