French business leaders more confident

26th March 2007, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, March 26, 2007 (AFP) - French business leaders are feeling better about prospects this month than they did in February, with the level of their confidence at its highest since April 2006, the INSEE statistics body said Monday.

PARIS, March 26, 2007 (AFP) - French business leaders are feeling better about prospects this month than they did in February, with the level of their confidence at its highest since April 2006, the INSEE statistics body said Monday.

INSEE said its measure of business sentiment had risen to 109 this month from 108 in February and 106 in January.

"Despite the difficulties experienced by the automobile sector, industry leaders remain upbeat," said analyst Alexander Law with the research group Xerfi.

The INSEE index showed that managers foresaw an improved pace of manufacturing production in the months ahead, with domestic order books at healthy levels.

"After a nine-month recession, industrial activity appears at last to be rebounding," noted Marc Touati of the ACDE think tank.

But he cautioned that foreign orders weakened in March.

"The recent appreciation of the euro and the slowdown in global growth have begun to have negative effects on French exports," he said. The stronger euro makes French products marketed abroad more expensive and less competitive than goods from the United States or Asia.

Touati also warned that uncertainty over global economic prospects could dampen hiring in France.

"The French manufacturing sector was likely to continue to destroy jobs in the coming quarters, at least at home," he said.

He added that French firms were more likely to create jobs "where demand is strong and where tax and regulatory pressures are limited -- overseas."

Copyright AFP

Subject: French news

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