France business confidence falls in October

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French business confidence fell slightly in October, France's national research institute (INSEE) said on Friday, with business leaders expressing a more pessimistic outlook for the economy.

The business climate index, based on a survey of business leader sentiment, fell to 97 points in October from 99 points in May.

As recently as July, the index stood at 105 points, above the long-term average of 100 points. During the worst of the crisis in 2008, the index sank as low as 70 points before pushing to above 100 points in 2010.

Another indicator based on surveys of managers in France's major business sectors also fell in October.

Industrial manufacturers said that inventories of finished products were stable during the period.

Long-term orders were also holding, they said, though orders for exports were dwindling.

Most other sectors -- including auto, farming, IT and machinery -- reported a clear decline in activity, INSEE said.

© 2011 AFP

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