FR: Consumer Mfgd Goods Consumption

Tue Mar 31 01:45:00 CDT 2015

Consensus Actual Previous Revised
Month over Month 0.3% -0.1% 0.2% 0.3%
Year over Year 2.4% 2.1%

Following a marginally stronger revised 0.3 percent increase in January, household spending on manufactured goods dipped 0.1 percent on the month in February. However, weakness in the year ago period ensured that annual sales growth still rose from 2.1 percent to 2.4 percent.

The February drop was the first fall since November and was essentially attributable to monthly declines in autos (0.8 percent) and textiles (0.4 percent). Household goods followed an already robust 1.0 percent rise in January with a 0.5 percent advance and the other products category was up 0.7 percent after a 0.5 percent increase last time. Total spending on goods was somewhat firmer, posting a 0.1 percent monthly rise to lift its yearly increase from 2.6 percent to 3.0 percent, the fastest pace since February 2011.

The latest figures mean that average overall spending on goods in the first two months of the current quarter was 1.8 percent above the fourth quarter average. This points to a more than respectable contribution from household demand to real GDP growth this period which looks likely to be comfortably above the disappointingly sluggish 0.1 percent quarterly rate posted in October-December.

Consumption of manufactured goods by consumers is an indicator of consumer spending for household durable goods such as autos and furniture. The data are released separately but also as part of the measure of total goods spending.

This indicator is a measure of retail sales and is unique to France. It measures consumer spending for household durable goods such as autos and furniture. The data are seasonally and workday adjusted. These adjustments eliminate the fluctuations that are solely due to changes in the number of working days. The data appear to be particularly sensitive to the number of worked Saturdays. With consumer spending a large part of the economy, market players continually monitor spending patterns. Retail sales are a measure of consumer well-being.

The pattern in consumer spending is often the foremost influence on stock and bond markets. For stocks, strong economic growth translates to healthy corporate profits and higher stock prices. For bonds, the focus is whether economic growth goes overboard and leads to inflation. Ideally, the economy walks that fine line between strong growth and excessive (inflationary) growth.

Retail sales not only give you a sense of the big picture, but also the trends among different types of retailers. Perhaps auto sales are especially strong or apparel sales are showing exceptional weakness. These trends from the retail sales data can help you spot specific investment opportunities, without having to wait for a company's quarterly or annual report.