By Maria Martinez
Sentiment in the French manufacturing sector dropped in March from February, but without fully reflecting the deterioration of business sentiment due to the coronavirus, as most of the responses were collected before the implementation of strict containment measures.
Figures from statistic agency Insee's monthly survey on Thursday showed that manufacturing sentiment fell to 98 in March compared with 101 in February, which was revised downwards, falling below the long-term average of 100.
The outcome is above economists' consensus forecast of 93 points in a survey conducted by The Wall Street Journal. Insee says the figures can be "less precise" than they usually are. Responses were collected between February 26 and March 23, so the majority of the surveys were received before schools were shut down on March 16, Insee said.
However, the biggest fall was in services, with the sentiment indicator falling to 92 in March from 106 in February, Insee said. The services sector has been the most affected by the lockdowns enforced to contain the virus.
The shift in the mood in the eurozone's second-largest economy comes a day after the German Ifo business confidence index posted its biggest drop since German reunification, falling to 86.1 points in March. Belgium business sentiment also slumped in March, showing the biggest monthly drop ever recorded in the history of the indicator on Wednesday.
Investors will now look ahead to Friday's release of France's consumer confidence poll to gauge consumer sentiment.
Write to Maria Martinez at firstname.lastname@example.org
(END) Dow Jones Newswires
March 26, 2020 04:31 ET (08:31 GMT)
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