Consumer confidence in France fell to a record low in March as accelerating inflation squeezes purchasing power. A gauge of consumer sentiment fell to minus 36, the lowest since the index was introduced in 1987, from minus 35 in February, Insee, the Paris-based national statistics office, said today.
Prime Minister Francois Fillon said this week the government is cutting its 2008 economic forecast to as low as 1.7 percent, citing the fallout from the U.S. housing recession. Accelerating inflation has deepened concern among French voters that President Nicolas Sarkozy will fail to fulfil his pledge to boost living standards, opinion polls have shown.
More than 80 percent of French people said they saw their purchasing power decline in the last 12 months, according to a poll last month by Paris-based Ifop institute. That was up from 65 percent in November and from 59 percent in January 2007.