France: Business sentiment declines in March
According to the National Institute of Statistics and Economic Studies’ (INSEE) business climate survey on manufacturing activity, the business sentiment index edged down from 112 points in February to 111 points in March, matching market expectations. Despite the drop, the indicator still lies well above the 100-point long-term average, the INSEE’s benchmark measure to distinguish between improving and worsening business expectations.
According to INSEE, March’s print reflected declines in five of the six main components of the index. Past activity and personal production expectations declined for the second consecutive month but remained above their respective long-term averages. In addition, firms’ views on overall order books and export order books deteriorated, whereas their outlook on finished goods inventories was unchanged in the surveyed month.
Regarding the different industries in the manufacturing sector, sentiment deteriorated in the machinery and equipment goods sector, and among manufacturers of transport equipment. Meanwhile, the assessment among food products and beverage producers was unchanged.