French in­dus­trial pro­duc­tion tum­bles as re­ces­sion looms


French in­dus­trial pro­duc­tion fell in Jan­uary as Europe's sec­ond-largest econ­omy teetered on the brink of its third re­ces­sion in four years.

Out­put from fac­to­ries, mines, util­i­ties and the con­struc­tion in­dus­try fell 1.2 per­cent in the month from De­cem­ber, na­tional statis­tics of­fice Insee said in an e-mailed state­ment. Econ­o­mists had ex­pected a 0.2 per­cent drop, ac­cord­ing to the me­dian of 25 es­ti­mates gath­ered by Bloomberg News.

The drop un­der­lines the slow­down in the French econ­omy at the start of the year. Since then, fac­tory man­agers have re­ported im­proved or­ders as global de­mand re­cov­ers even as Pres­i­dent Fran­cois Hol­lande's bud­get cuts crimp domestic spend­ing.

"Busi­ness sur­veys sug­gest a con­trac­tion in Jan­uary," said Pierre-Olivier Beffy, chief econ­o­mist at Ex­ane BNP Paribas in Lon­don.

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