French industrial production rose 1.6% in March from February, the national statistics institute INSEE showed May 10, a performance that analysts said augured well for overall economic growth. The gain came after a 1.2% decline in February.
Compared with March 2005, industrial production was up 2.3%. Analysts had expected an increase in March from February of between 1% and 1.2%.
The manufacturing component, which excludes energy and the food industry, increased 1.6% in March from the previous month, when it fell 1.2%.
With the current spurt in industrial production and rising demand for consumer manufactured goods, "we can expect an increase in (first quarter) gross domestic product of at least 0.6%," said Nicolas Bouzou of the Xerfi financial analysis group.
Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2006