French monthly industrial output slumps 1.4 pct
Europeans Commission says worse-than-expected recession drives unemployment to levels not seen since World War II.PARIS – French industrial output slumped by 1.4 percent in March, on a monthly basis, after dropping 0.9 percent in February, the state statistics agency said Monday.
Within the overall figure, manufactured output fell by 1.1 percent on a monthly basis.
Previous estimates for February's figure had put the drop at only 0.5 percent, and INSEE's latest update reflects an increasingly gloomy outlook among statisticians for the prospects of an early return to growth.
Output from France's agricultural and food production sector dropped 0.6 percent in March, and the only major area of the economy to see growth was pharmaceuticals, where production grew by 2.4 percent.
Last week the European Commission warned that the 27-nation EU economy would contract by four percent this year as a worse-than-expected recession drives unemployment to levels not seen since World War II.
France is not the worst hit of the continent's economies, but President Nicolas Sarkozy's government expects gross national product to shrink by at least 2.5 percent in 2009 and some experts are more pessimistic.
AFP / Expatica