France: Business confidence jumps in March
March 24, 2011
In February, 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. However, recent data on the economic climate in the manufacturing industry provide a more upbeat outlook than implied by the Central Bank's indicator. The business sentiment measurement developed by the National Statistical Institute (INSEE) jumped from 106 points in February to 109 points in March, the highest level since March 2008, as total and export order books increased. The reading contrasted market expectations that the indicator would moderate to 105 points. According to the Central Bank's monthly index of business activity (MIBA), the economy is expected to expand 0.8% in the first quarter, while the quarterly economic outlook released by INSEE in December has the economy expanding a much more moderate 0.3% in the first quarter.