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France Industrial Production Falls Sharply In February

French industrial production decreased in February, after growing at the start of the year, after authorities began imposing partial lockdowns in some regions amid a resurgence in the coronavirus infections.

Industrial production decreased 4.7 percent month-on-month following a 3.2 percent rise in January, data from the statistical office INSEE showed Friday. Economists had forecast a 0.5 percent gain.

Manufacturing output fell 4.6 percent after a 3.3 percent rise in the previous month. Manufacture of transport equipment slumped 11.4 percent.

Output also fell sharply in both construction and utilities sectors.

On a year-on-year basis, industrial production shrank 6.6 percent and manufacturing output plummeted 7.1 percent.

Results of the IHS Markit manufacturing PMI survey for March, released earlier in the week, signaled that the manufacturing sector may be on the path of recovery. New orders and output grew at the fastest rates since 2018 and employment increased at the sharpest rate since 2000.

The survey showed that purchasing activity also picked up, but raw materials shortages continued to cause severe supply chain disruption.

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