France: Business confidence holds steady
April 22, 2011
In March, the Central Bank's business sentiment indicator for manufacturers remained unchanged at January's 110 points. At this level, the index remains above its long-term average of 100 points. Meanwhile, recent data on the economic climate in the manufacturing industry confirms the stable outlook implied by the Central Bank's indicator. The business sentiment index, developed by the National Statistical Institute (INSEE), remained steady at 110 points in April, the highest level since March 2008, as increasing order books continue to boost confidence. The reading was in line with market expectations that the indicator would remain unchanged. The Central Bank revised its monthly index of business activity (MIBA) downwards by 0.1 percentage point and now expects the economy to expand 0.7% in the first quarter, while the quarterly economic outlook released by INSEE in December has the economy expanding 0.6% in the first quarter. In the fourth quarter, the economy grew 0.4% over the previous quarter.