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French Manufacturing Confidence Improves In January

French manufacturing sentiment improved in January, survey results from the statistical office Insee revealed on Thursday.

The manufacturing confidence index rose to 98 in January from 94 in December. This was the highest score since February 2020.

The personal production expectations index advanced to 7 from 5 in the previous month. Meanwhile, general production prospects weakened slightly in January, with the reading falling to -9 from -5 a month ago.

The industrialists' opinion on overall order books improved noticeably in January. The corresponding balance came in at -25 versus -32 in December. Likewise, the export order book balance advanced to -30 from -38.

The industrialist's opinion on their production during the past three months has again improved in January.

The past activity index climbed to 12 from 5 in the previous month and the finished-goods inventory indicator rose to 8 from 7.

The opinion of industrialists about employment remained almost unchanged. The balance of opinion on expected workforce size rose marginally to -10 from -11 in the previous month and remained below its pre-crisis level. The balance on past workforce size slightly decreased to -11 from -9.

The overall business confidence index rose slightly to 92 in January from 91 in December. The score remained well below its long-term average of 100. While sentiment improved in manufacturing and wholesale trade, it barely fluctuated in services and retail trade.

According to quarterly business survey, the production capacity utilization rate rose to 79.3 percent in the first quarter from 77.4 percent in the fourth quarter.

Despite the lockdown, the balances of opinion on variation in demand over the last three months, overall and abroad, declined a little in January. However, the survey showed that demand prospects remained dull.

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