testosteronepit.com / By Wolf Richter / May 28, 2013 AT 11:39AMThe confidence of consumers in France is catching up with the economic situation in their country, where the state sector, which dominates the land with 56% of the economic activity, has been hobbled by budget woes, and where the private sector, which is struggling with an inscrutable labor code and slack demand, is suffocating under a pile of old and new taxes.Rien ne va plus, it seems.
Yet there were some welcome distractions for everyone: the bloody riots in central Paris this weekend offered up the illusion, at least on TV, that the primary problem, the one that would ultimately kill the Republic of France, was the recent passage of a law allowing same-sex marriages under the “Marriage for All” act, one of the planks in President François Hollande’s campaign platform. Alas, the vast majority of French people have more pressing problems than trying to get in the way of lovers wanting to walk down the aisle.
The household confidence index by national statistical agency INSEE plummeted 4 points in May, to 79, its all-time low of July 2009 during the worst of the financial crisis. Back in the day, consumer confidence spent a year and a half climbing out of that hole to reach 93 in January 2010, only to zigzag back down in a series of sharp declines followed by sharp increases, with lower lows followed by lower highs, a classic descent to consumer-mood perdition.