Auto Sector Drives French Industrial Output Upwards

Manufacturing increased 1.4% in July compared to a 1.2% decrease in June

French industrial output beat forecasts and rose 0.9% in July from the level in June, powered by a sharp rebound in the auto sector, the national statistics institute INSEE reported on Sept. 10.

The gain followed a 1.7% decline in June.

Manufactured production, which excludes the mining and construction sectors, registered a rise of 1.4% in July compared with a fall of 1.2%t in June.

The July performance "is clearly much better than expected," said analyst Laurence Boone of Barclays Capital, noting that her bank had foreseen a gain of 0.2%.

But at research group Xerfi, economist Alexander Law cautioned that "there is no clear trend that has emerged."

He said that given the weak state of industry order books, the end of the year could "rather complicated."

Although output surged in the auto sector surged 6.5% on July after a slide of 6.5% in June, "the volatility that has characterized this industry for several years is far from over," Law said.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2010

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