French manufacturing confidence decreased in March, survey results from the statistical office Insee showed Thursday.
The manufacturing sentiment index fell to 98 in March from 101 in February. Economists had forecast a score of 93. This was below the long-run average of 100.
The balance on personal production prospects fell to minus 4 in March from 7 in February. Meanwhile, the balance on general production prospects declined notably to -33 after remaining flat in the previous month.
The overall order book balance rose marginally to -10 from -11, and the export order books balance increased slightly to -16 from -17. The finished-goods inventory balance remained at 3 in March.
Regarding employment, the survey revealed that managers' opinion on recent variation worsened and expected variation fell sharply.
The overall business confidence index declined 10 points to 95 in March from 105 in February. This was the biggest drop since the series started in 1980. Sentiment deteriorated in services and retail trade, while it remained unchanged in building construction.