French manufacturing confidence improved in April, monthly survey data from the statistical office Insee showed on Thursday.
The manufacturing sentiment index advanced to 104 in April from 99.0 in March. Economists had forecast the index to remain at 99.0.
The reading exceeded its long-term average of 100 for the first time since February 2020.
Managers were more positive about their order books and their past and future production. The order book balance improved to -15, the highest since February 2020, from -23 in March.
The export order book balance rose to -22 from -30 in March.
Manufacturers judged more favorably the development in their recent production. The general production expectations index came in at 2, down from 5 a month ago.
Personal prospects of production have been brightening. The corresponding index advanced to 12 from 7.
Regarding employment, manufacturers worsened their opinion on the past change in the workforce size. The indicator for past workforce size fell to -10 from -6 and that for expected workforce size decreased to -6 from -4.
The overall business confidence index dropped to 95 in April from 97 in March. The moderate fall was the result of the deterioration in the outlook for the tertiary sector, which was partly offset by a further improvement in the business climate in industry.
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