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Economy in Brief

French Orders Continue to Slide Sharply
by Robert Brusca October 20, 2008

French order performance and trends are clear and are clearly negative. The momentum is not as clearly building a head of steam as in some countries, however. But, on the other hand, all recent views of order trends are lower at some disturbing pace. While the 3-month pace at -6.9% is better than the 6-month pace of -18.5%, the 3-month pace is still negative and the quarter-to-date growth rate is still severe at -7.4%.

But, for France as for Italy and others, the foreign sector is even weaker. For foreign orders we see a 3-month decline at a pace of -5.6% that compares to a -25% pace over 6 months. The quarter-to-date growth rate of -11.5% shows a slightly accelerated negative growth rate compared to the three-month pace and a rate roughly comparable to the Yr/Yr pace of -13.2%.

What these statistics remind us, is that the various economies are seeing withering orders (planned economic activity) and the pace of the disruption to expected activity is still somewhat uneven - but the view remains one of economies that are contracting. Overall, the growth rates are weakened and are worrisome. These are not minor pull-backs nor do they seem to be one-off declines. These are negative growth rates of such magnitude that the persistence of these declines and the threat to overall growth is quite clear. Central banks have gotten the message.

As of today Germany announced it was working on a stimulus package for its economy. This is after it has assembled a bank bailout package. At one time – even a few short weeks ago - Germany insisted that it did not require either.

Things change. And sometimes they change rapidly.

French Orders
Saar exept m/m Aug-08 Jul-08 Jun-08 3-mo 6-mo 12-mo Quarter-2-Date
Total -7.2% 4.3% 1.4% -6.9% -18.5% -7.8% -7.4%
Foreign -7.5% 3.4% 3.1% -5.6% -25.1% -13.2% -11.5%
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