Factory output in France fell for the third month in a row in February, and the gloom that descended on factory executives in that month was unchanged for March, according to the Bank of France.
Bloomberg reported that INSEE, the French national statistics office, unveiled statistics that revealed a third monthly drop in manufacturing production. Economists surveyed by Bloomberg had expected production to remain unchanged, but instead it fell by 1.2%.
While France avoided a recession, according to the bank, having grown by 0.2% in the fourth quarter of 2011, Reuters reported that it foresaw no signs of a strong recovery in the months to come, saying, “Forecasts suggest that activity will remain stable in the short term.” The bank’s industry business sentiment indicator remained at 95 in March—unchanged from February, when it hit a 3-month low.
The Bank of France also said that, according to its survey data, gross domestic production most likely did not expand in the first quarter. France, which has the second largest economy in Europe, is struggling economically under the euro zone debt crisis, and that is expected to play a major role in its upcoming elections.