French business confidence improves
27 November 2007, PARIS - French industrial sector confidence improved in November, official statistics showed Tuesday, but analysts said the gain was unlikely to mean brisker overall economic growth this year.
27 November 2007
PARIS - French industrial sector confidence improved in November, official statistics showed Tuesday, but analysts said the gain was unlikely to mean brisker overall economic growth this year.
An index measuring sentiment in the manufacturing sector rose to 110 in November from 108 in October, according to the national statistics institute INSEE.
Analyst Nicolas Bouzou at the research group Asteres attributed the showing to robust economic activity and demand in France's key trading partners.
"Thank you Germany, thank you Italy, thank you Britain," he commented.
The component of the index measuring foreign order books rose to a reading of 4.0 in November from 3.0 in October.
Another research group, Xerfi, described the INSEE report as "reassuring" but said it did not alter the fact that "the French economy is well and truly slowing ... which means that growth should be virtually zero in the fourth quarter."
Xerfi is maintaining its 2007 growth projection of 1.8 percent, as are consultants at another research group, ACDEFI.
ACDEFI analyst Marc Touati said the November confidence figure was surprising given "the surge in oil prices, the strength of the euro, a slowdown in worldwide momentum, weak employment and disposable income levels in France as well as recent transport strikes."
But Bouzou of Asteres, taking a more optimistic line, noted an improvement in the auto sector, which accounts for 10 percent of French manufacturing output.
"Orders are picking up, which suggests that domestic demand is relatively healthy," he said.
Subject: French news