Industrial production in France fell for the first time in four months in March as global demand waned and domestic spending lost momentum. Production at factories and utilities, which accounts for 15 percent of the economy, slipped 0.8 percent from February, when it gained a revised 0.5 percent, the national statistics bureau, Insee, said today in Paris.
The decline in French output in March limited the increase for industrial production in the first quarter to 0.3 percent, Insee said.
French manufacturing, which excludes energy and food output, fell 1.5 percent on the month, Insee said today. From a year earlier, industrial output rose 1 percent and manufacturing increased 0.4 percent.
The decline was led by a 2.9 percent slump in car output and a 3.3 percent decline in clothes and leather goods, the data showed.
Manufacturers, who are facing rising production costs from the near doubling in crude oil prices in the past year, are also feeling the pinch of a euro worth almost $1.55. France's trade deficit widened to a record in March, hurt by a slump in exports, and consumer spending on manufactured goods slipped 1.7 percent in the month.
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