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Financial News: French Business Confidence Strengthens More Than Expected

French Business Confidence Strengthens More Than Expected

08/27/2020 - 04:04:00 (RTTNews)

(RTTNews) - French business sentiment continued to improve in August as confidence picked up in almost all sub-sectors, monthly survey data from the statistical office Insee showed Thursday.

Another industrial investment survey from the Insee showed that business managers downgraded their investment outlook for this year as they projected a double-digit contraction.

The business confidence index for manufacturers rose more-than-expected to 93 in August from 82 in July. The expected reading was 85.

Business managers' assessment of past activity climbed sharply with the index rising to -2 from -41.

The balances of opinion on total and foreign order books recovered further in August. The indicator for overall orders reached -38 versus -51 in July. Likewise, the export order book balance improved to -52 from -62.

Much more enterprises than in July have deemed their inventories to be below normal. The finished goods inventory index rose to 4 from 14.

Considering employment, the balances of opinion on past as well as expected variation in workforce size continued to gradually recover, the Insee said. The past workforce size index rose to -22 and that for expected workforce size moved up to -14.

The index measuring manufacturers' personal production expectations fell to 22 from 24 a month ago. Meanwhile, the general production expectations index rose marginally to -3 from -4.

The overall business confidence index strengthened to 91 in August from 84 in July. Business confidence continued its recovery started in May. Nonetheless, the score was below its long-term average of 100.

Elsewhere, a quarterly survey revealed that business managers expect an 11 percent fall in their investment expenditure in 2020 compared to 2019, which was down from -7 percent estimated in April.

However, they have updated upwards their estimate of the investment growth rate in 2019 by one point, as usual at this time of the year, thus bringing it to +4 percent, Insee reported.

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