FR: Consumer Mfgd Goods Consumption

Fri May 29 01:45:00 CDT 2015

Consensus Actual Previous Revised
Month over Month 0.1% 0.3% -0.2% -0.3%
Year over Year 2.0% 1.8% 1.6%

Household spending on manufactured goods rose a slightly stronger than expected 0.3 percent on the month in April following a marginally steeper revised 0.3 percent decline in March. Compared with a year ago, purchases were up 2.0 percent after a 1.6 percent increase last time.

April's monthly advance was dominated by textiles where sales climbed 1.3 percent although this only partially offset a 5.1 percent slump in March. Elsewhere, autos edged up 0.1 percent but household goods declined 0.2 percent as did the other products category.

Total goods expenditure edged only 0.1 percent firmer following a 0.7 percent drop at the end of the first quarter to stand at its second weakest level since November 2014. According to INSEE, consumer sentiment drifted a little lower this month so the chances are that household consumption will not match the first quarter's 0.8 percent gain in the current period. The economic recovery in France continues to struggle to pick up any real momentum.

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.