Belfast Telegraph

French industrial production dips by 1.3%

By David Chance

Industrial production in France fell by 1.3% in November, putting the country on track to record just 0.5% growth for the year in the latest gloomy economic release for the eurozone.

Last week data showed that German industrial production fell for the third successive month, and Italy may already be in recession, which means the three biggest economies in Europe are stuttering or falling, casting a pall over the sustainability of the bloc's economic recovery and the European Central Bank's plans to raise interest rates this year.

The central bank itself was well aware of the gloom surrounding the bloc and, at its December monetary policy meeting, it discussed the greater risks surrounding eurozone economy.

Its policymakers discussed whether they should downgrade their assessments of the economy as "tilted to the downside" from "balanced".

Most private sector economists doubt the ECB will hike rates as planned. Some expect a rate rise in 2020, and some say the central bank will not be able to raise interest rates before the next downturn hits Europe.

Capital Economics cut its eurozone economic growth forecast for this year to just 1%.

Chief Europe economist Andrew Kenningham predicted it would leave rates on hold.

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