France: Business confidence rises in October
November 23, 2010
The Central Bank's business sentiment indicator for manufacturers rose from 102 points in September to 103 points in October, beating market expectations of 102 points. This increase follows a similar improvement recorded between August and September after stalling at 101 points during the prior four months. At the current level, the index hovers above its long-term average of 100. While inventories of final goods declined, order books recovered at a pace similar to that seen before the summer of 2008. In addition, capacity utilisation was almost unchanged from the previous month and activity in the services sector picked up a notch, buttressed by strong growth in temporary work. More recent data for the economic climate in the manufacturing industry show mixed results on the outlook implied by the Central Bank's indicator. The business sentiment measurement elaborated by the National Statistical Institute (INSEE) dropped from 102 points in October to 100 points in November. The fall breaks the upward trend observed since March 2009, which was only briefly interrupted by a decline in June this year. According to the Central Bank's monthly index of business activity (MIBA) the economy is expected to expand 0.5% in the fourth quarter, which is 0.1 percentage points above the forecast elaborated by INSEE in its quarterly economic outlook from October.