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Economy in Brief

French New Orders Soften but Still Grow
by Robert Brusca January 18, 2008

French new industrial orders are lower in two of the past three months. Still, year over year orders retain solid upward momentum. The sequential growth rates, however tell a different story, one of a loss in momentum within the past year. That loss is stronger on the domestic front since we see that foreign orders have stepped down in growth from their Yr/Yr to six month pace but then recovered in the recent three months, when total orders slowed, presumable weighed down by weak domestic orders. Still with that in train Q4 growth in orders is still positive. Total orders are up at a 1.2% pace in the fourth quarter with two months of data in, while foreign orders are up by a much stronger 6.5%.

A survey of small French firms finds that they are reasonably comfortable for now but are concerned about the outlook. France is one of the large EMU economies and is going through a shifting in gears that will impact the EMU growth rate itself.

While today German government officials said there is no need for an EMU-wide stimulus program, the main growth signals from Europe have indicated a slowing. Germans retain confidence that growth will continue despite the challenges and risks. Although there is no way to tell yet how severe the slowing will be in Germany, France, Italy and in the EU’s UK all major EU nations are showing signs of some unevenness in growth.

French Orders
Saar except m/m Nov-07 Oct-07 Sep-07 3-mo 6-mo 12-mo
Total -0.2% 2.4% -2.5% -1.3% 2.7% 8.2%
  Foreign 1.7% 2.2% -2.9% 3.7% 2.7% 6.6%
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