French industrial output declined in March as warmer weather led to a drop in demand for electricity and gas for heating.
Output from factories, mines and power plants fell 0.9 percent from February, when it rose 0.3 percent, national statistics office Insee said in an e-mailed statement today. Economists forecast a drop of 0.6 percent, according to the median of 19 estimates in a Bloomberg News survey.
Manufacturing production climbed 1.4 percent, the first increase this year, amid concern about France’s ability to revive growth in the face of a deepening euro-area recession. Socialist Francois Hollande, who will be sworn-in as president next week, said that boosting French output will be one of his priorities for the next five years.
“On the manufacturing front, a very modest increase can be seen following a weak beginning in the first quarter,” said Pierre-Olivier Beffy, chief economist at Exane BNP Paribas in London. “The overall manufacturing trend remains weak.”
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