FR: Consumer Mfgd Goods Consumption

October 28, 2016 01:45 CDT

Consensus Actual Previous
Month over Month 0.3% -0.3% 1.0%
Year over Year 1.2% 1.6%

Household spending on manufactured goods unexpectedly declined in September. A 0.3 percent monthly fall followed an unrevised 1.0 percent bounce in August and reduced annual sales growth from 1.6 percent to 1.2 percent.

Headline weakness was largely due to textiles, which were down 0.5 percent versus the previous month, and the other products category where demand contracted 0.4 percent. Autos (minus 0.1 percent) were also soft but household goods advanced a respectable 0.6 percent.

Total goods spending slipped 0.2 percent on the month which put the third quarter 0.5 percent below the second quarter level. Weakness here was instrumental to a flat performance by overall household consumption during the period and a key factor behind a disappointingly small 0.2 percent provisional rise in real GDP.

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 as part of the report on 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.