PARIS (dpa-AFX) - France's consumer confidence weakened unexpectedly in May, though less sharply than in the prior two months, survey results from the statistical office INSEE showed on Wednesday.
The consumer sentiment index dropped marginally to 86 in May from a revised reading of 87.0 in April. Economists had expected the index to improve to 89.
The index showed a decline for the fifth successive month and remained below its long-term average of 100.
Households' opinion on their own past financial situation worsened in May and also stood below its long-term average, with the index falling from -25 in April to -27.
Meanwhile, their view regarding financial expectations for the next twelve months showed no variation in May and the corresponding index remained steady for the second straight month at -22.
There was a slight increase in assessment regarding the opportunity to make major purchases in May, while the assessment on future savings capacity declined further.
The index measuring consumers' opinion on their own standard living in France for the next one year dropped to -64 in May from -59 in April.
However, households' fear about unemployment in the coming twelve months signaled a modest decline in May, with the corresponding index falling by four points and stood at 2.
The share of households who consider that prices have risen over the past twelve months increased in May and the respective index reached its highest level since the summer of 2008, by rising to 54 from 51.
At the same time, the share of survey respondents who believe that prices will accelerate over the coming year logged a marked decline in May, with the index decreased by 15 points from April to 9.
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