EU performance gap continues to grow as Germany strengthens

FRANCE was confirmed to be in a recession yesterday, as the government’s statistical agency made no revisions to its assessment that the economy shrank by 0.2 per cent in the first quarter.

The confirmation means that the country, which also saw growth slip 0.2 per cent in the first quarter, has now registered two consecutive quarters of negative growth.

At the same time, German consumer confidence was released, demonstrating the most robust reading for nearly six years. The reading stood at 6.8 for the month ahead, with any number above zero denoting a positive sentiment.

The survey of confidence, which is released by GfK, had been expected to come in at only 6.5, with no change from last month’s figures.

Consumer confidence has not been so high since August 2007, before the financial crisis.

Rolf Burkl, in analysis for GfK, said: “The income outlook of Germans has improved further from an already high level on account of the stable employment situation.”

French consumer confidence, by contrast, reached a dramatic low at the end of May, down to a historically poor level.

The performance of the two countries has diverged since the financial crisis, as the German economy goes from strength to strength.