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French Consumer Spending Gains as Election Spurs Optimism

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May 31 (Bloomberg) -- French consumer spending climbed more than economists forecast in April as the prospect of a change in government improved household confidence in the euro area’s second-largest economy.

Spending rose 0.6 percent from March, when it declined a revised 2.6 percent, the national statistics office Insee in Paris said today in an e-mailed statement. Economists forecast a gain of 0.3 percent the median of 17 estimates in a Bloomberg News survey showed. In the year, spending advanced 0.4 percent.

Francois Hollande won presidential elections this month, promising more government spending and a shift in the taxation to the wealthiest households. Still, with unemployment climbing and Hollande vowing to meet deficit reduction targets, domestic demand may do little to boost economic growth, economists said.

“Consumers are being pressured by growing unemployment and the tightening in public spending,” said Pierre-Olivier Beffy, chief economist at Exane BNP Paribas in London. “We expect a weak second quarter.”

To contact the reporter on this story: Mark Deen in Paris at markdeen@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Craig Stirling at cstirling1@bloomberg.net

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