Sharp drop in French household consumption in March

The decline in food and energy consumption caused a drop in consumption of 1.3%, after a rise of 0.9% in February.

Household consumption hasclearly» fell in March, by 1.3%, reported Friday the INSEE, which also revised slightly upwards to +0.9% the recovery observed in February. “This decrease is mainly due to the decline in food consumption (-2.5%) and, to a lesser extent, in energy consumption (-1.6%)“, specified the National Institute of Statistics. Over one year, overall household consumption expenditure fell by 2.4%, with food and energy expenditure contracting by 6.9% and 1.3% respectively, compared to an increase of 1.3% % in manufactured goods.

The drop in food consumption over one month in March, which accounts for 38% of the total, is explained by “a sharp drop in the consumption of agricultural and agri-food products“Commented INSEE. The drop in this category is much stronger over one year (-6.9%), March 2021 having been an exceptional period during which the Covid-19 pandemic had “leads to replacing catering services with food consumption“. On the energy side, consumption also continued to decline last month, in particular due to the decline in fuel consumption (-1.8% after +2.7% in February) as well as that of gas and electricity. (-1.5% after -2.4%).

Manufactured goods, which account for 44% of the total, fell by 0.1%, a contrasting situation compared to February, which saw consumption of this category of goods increase by 2.2%. This is due to a “sharp decline in consumption of durable goods(-1.2% after +1.6%) -first and foremost transport equipment (-2.8% after +1.4%) and in particular car sales- and the further decline in the consumption inother manufactured goods” (-0.3% after -0.4%). On the other hand, consumption of clothing-textiles increased again (+3.1% after +8.7%), notes INSEE, mainly thanks to “rebound in shoe purchases“.

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