Autos boost official French industrial output

PARIS: The auto sector put spring into French industrial output in August which jumped 1.8 percent from the level in July, official data showed on Friday.

The surge followed two months of only slight recovery, the official statistics institute INSEE said.

In August, activity in the French auto sector leapt by 18.2 percent after a weakening of the effect of a government reward scheme for trading in old cars, to support the industry at the height of the economic crisis.

Meanwhile, overall manufactured output, including production by the agricultural and food sectors, rose by 1.9 percent in August from the level in July after an increase of 0.8 percent in July from the level in June.

Industrial production in June to August was down by 11.8 percent overall compared to the same period a year earlier.

Figures from the central bank on Thursday showed the French economy grew by 0.3 percent in the third quarter of 2009. The major EU economy officially emerged from recession in the second half of this year, according to INSEE.

INSEE's latest growth forecast was for a slightly higher third-quarter expansion of 0.5 percent, with a 2.2-percent contraction overall in 2009 in the worldwide downturn.