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France: Business sentiment improves in August

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In August, the National Institute of Statistics and Economic Studies’ (INSEE) business sentiment index for the manufacturing sector ticked up to 110 points from an upwardly revised 109 points (previously reported: 108 points) a month earlier. Climbing back from its worst reading in a year, the indicator landed above the 100-point long-run average—INSEE’s benchmark measure to distinguish between improvement and deterioration in the business climate.

August’s reading reflected a strong revision of past activity among manufacturers, as well as improved opinion on domestic order books. Export orders, meanwhile, continued to be viewed less favorably. Firms viewed their finished-goods inventories more positively and, moreover, their outlook on employment remained upbeat.

Improvement in the business climate was recorded among food-processing and transport-equipment manufacturers, while machinery-and-equipment manufacturers noted a modest deterioration from a month earlier.
FocusEconomics Consensus Forecast panelists see fixed investment growing 2.8% in 2018, which is up 0.2 percentage points from last month’s estimate. For 2019, the panel sees fixed investment expanding 3.0%.

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