France industrial output shows huge downturn

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PARIS: French industrial production dropped for a second straight month in June, statistics bureau Insee said on Wednesday, alarming analysts who had been looking for a modest increase.

Output fell 0.8 percent in June, after dropping 0.5 percent in May, with oil refining posting the largest single decline after strikes in France’s oil industry.

Connor Campbell, an analyst at Spreadex, called the latest French reading “alarming” and “far worse” than the May drop and the 0.3 percent increase that economists had been expecting for June.

Manufacturing output alone fell 1.2 percent in June after a revised 0.1 percent increase the previous month.


Stoppages at French refineries in early June in protest at a new French labor law pushed output in the refining and coking sector down by a massive 12.4 percent, Insee said.

The food, transport and capital goods sectors also all saw declines.

Energy and water extraction was one of the few bright spots in the data, rising by 1.9 percent.

For the second quarter as a whole, industrial production was down by 0.1 percent.

Wednesday’s figures put a dent in economic recovery hopes for the eurozone’s second-biggest economy after Germany.

Insee last month said the French economy failed to grow at all in the second quarter, dashing government hopes for a small expansion.

The finance ministry called the flat figure “disappointing”, given that Insee had predicted 0.3 percent growth and the Bank of France 0.2 percent.

The government is still looking for full-year growth of 1.5 percent this year.

AFP

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