French industrial output slumps

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Paris - French industrial production fell by 2.2 percent in 2012 from the level of output in 2011, the national statistics institute INSEE told AFP on Monday.

Output by the manufacturing sector, excluding production by the energy and mining sectors, fell by 2.7 percent, an official at INSEE said after calculating the annual figure including the data for December published earlier on Monday.

The French government is increasingly worried about low growth and signs of severe strains in the industrial sector, with deep problems in the auto industry being the latest example.

The country is running a near record structural trade deficit, and the government has introduced measures to try to improve the competitive position of industry by switching part of payroll charges to general taxation.

The INSEE official calculated the performance for the whole of 2012 after the agency had published data for December and the last quarter for 2012.

Industrial production fell sharply in the fourth quarter, by 1.8 percent from output in the third quarter.

In the manufacturing sector, output fell by 2.5 percent, the data showed.

On a monthly basis, industrial output was almost flat in December falling by 0.1 percent from the level in November when it rose by 0.5 percent, the data showed.

Output by the manufacturing sector, excluding activity by the energy and mining sectors, was also about steady, rising by 0.1

percent as in November.

In the last quarter compared with output in the third quarter, production by the sector making equipment for transportation fell by 5.5 percent and for refining by 9.1 percent.

Output of electrical, electronic, computer equipment and machines fell by 2.3 percent, and production of other industrial goods fell by 2.6 percent.

But production by the agriculture and food industries rose by 0.8 percent.

On a 12-month basis, output in the last quarter by the manufacturing sector fell by 3.9 percent. - Sapa-AFP

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