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Latest update : 2009-04-20

After industrial output dropped off in France in early 2009, the Paris-based French Economic Observatory (OFCE) forecast that the country's economy would shrink by 2.3 percent this year and that unemployment would top 10 percent in 2010.

REUTERS - French industrial orders fell 1.9 percent in February, a far slower rate of monthly decline than in January when they plunged 4.2 percent, the statistics agency INSEE reported on Monday.


Orders actually rose by 4.1 percent for the chemical industry but fell heavily in the metals sector by 9.5 percent and in the paper sector by 5.6 percent, the National Institute for Statistics and Economic Studies said.


The data adds to signs highlighted by the government and the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development that green shoots of economic rejuvenation may be struggling to push through the gloom of France's economy.


Industrial output in February fell 0.5 percent after a slump of 3.9 percent in January, official data showed on Friday.


The OECD has also said that there are "tentative" signs that the economic slowdown may be easing in France.


The French economic monitor OFCE meanwhile forecast on Monday that the country's economy would shrink by 2.3 percent in 2009, with the rate of downturn easing in 2010 to 0.2 percent -- harsher than government forecasts.


French unemployment would exceed 10 percent next year, OFCE said in a statement. The public deficit would rise to a hefty 6.1 percent of gross domestic profit (GDP) this year and 7.2 percent in 2010, it added.


Date created : 2009-04-20