Industrial output slumps across France and Italy as crisis lingers

Ben Southwood
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INDUSTRIAL output continued to slide across France and Italy in October, adding to the gloom in crisis-hit Eurozone economies.

French industrial output slipped 0.7 per cent over the period, according to official statistical office Insee, meaning it was 2.4 per cent lower than October last year. And industrial output in Italy fell 1.1 per cent between September and October, capping off a 6.2 per cent yearly plunge.

To add to the downbeat industry data, Italian national accounts confirmed that GDP edged down 0.2 per cent in the third quarter. This latest fall means the economy is a full 2.4 per cent smaller than it was in the same period last year. Figures for investment, also included in the data from Istat, were even worse, with gross fixed capital formation down 9.8 per cent on the year.

And a survey from the Bank of France suggested malaise in the French economy was not going away soon. November’s manufacturing business sentiment figure crept down to 91 in November, from 92 in October, and further below the long-term average of 100. Service sentiment was stable on 91.

But Spanish data on labour costs looked more optimistic. Costs per hour worked grew just 0.2 per cent over a full year, according to official figures from Ine, well below the most recent inflation figure of 3.5 per cent – meaning the real cost of employing staff is falling.