French industrial output plunges by 16.2pc in March, says Insee

A woman walks past a closed shop with a ‘for sale’ sign in the French Riviera city of Nice, southern France, on the 43nd day of a lockdown in France aimed at curbing the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic, April 28, 2020. — AFP pic
A woman walks past a closed shop with a ‘for sale’ sign in the French Riviera city of Nice, southern France, on the 43nd day of a lockdown in France aimed at curbing the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic, April 28, 2020. — AFP pic

PARIS, May 7 — French confinement measures caused industrial output to plunge by 16.2 per cent in March on a monthly basis, data released today by the statistics institute Insee showed.

Activity declined “substantially” in all industrial sectors, after edging up by 0.8 per cent in February, the institute said in a statement.

A breakdown of the data showed that construction activity was hit the hardest as it contracted by 40.1 per cent on the month after a slight 1.1 per cent gain in February.

A slump in auto manufacturing pushed the transportation materials category down by 35.9 per cent in March, but there were also a few exceptions to the downward trend.

Pharmaceutical output leapt by 15.9 per cent as the virus underpinned consumption of certain medications, and increases were also reported by companies that produced prepared meals and baby food.

For the first quarter as a whole, industrial output was 5.6 per cent lower compared with the last three months of 2019, Insee said. — AFP

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