The twin spectres of unemployment and higher inflation took their toll of French consumer confidence, which in January slipped from the preceding month by 0.4%, according to data released Thursday by national statistics office INSEE.

December, in turn, was revised downward from 0.4% to an adjusted month-on-month increase of 0.3%.

Consumer spending, however, belied January’s dip in confidence with French purses disgorging 1.2% more than in the same month last year.

Consumer confidence was carefully nursed throughout 2001 via a series of political manoeuvres by the French government, and the current blip on the chart if maintained will not be good news for the presidential ambitions of current prime minister Lionel Jospin.

Contrasting with the French scenario, Italian consumer confidence soared to a twelve year peak, while the Dutch revised their growth forecasts upward.

Data sourced from: Financial Times; additional content by WARC staff