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French April industry output falls, countering rise forecasts

[PARIS] Output in France's industrial sector slid unexpectedly in April, with dips in aerospace, automobiles and textiles contributing to an output fall instead of the rise forecast in the second-largest eurozone economy.

The INSEE statistics office said on Wednesday that industrial output fell 0.9 per cent in April from March, far short of the 0.4 per cent rise a Reuters poll of forecasters showed ahead of the monthly report.

The temporary closure of a refinery compounded the notable falls of output in other sectors compared to March, which could cast doubt on the strength of the economy's recovery.

Output in the transport equipment sector fell 3.3 per cent as a result of a 5.0 per cent drop in transport equipment - primarily aerospace equipment production - and a 1.4 per cent drop in the automobile sector, where output had risen a healthy 2.2 per cent in March.

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While the monthly readout was way below expectations, output over the three months to end-April was 0.9 up from the three previous months, INSEE said.

The figure for April alone also looked less flattering due to an upward revision in the output figure for March, to 0.0 month-on-month from the drop of 0.3 per cent initially reported.

France's central bank on Monday confirmed its forecast of 0.3 per cent growth in French economic output in the second quarter, half the first quarter reading.

"Q2 growth is likely to be much slower than in Q1," BNP Paribas economist Dominique Barbet said after the industrial output data was released.

"The rebound may not appear before the June figure is published."


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