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French industrial production defies high energy prices rising in December

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French industrial production increased more than expected in December, suggesting the country’s manufacturing sector held up at year-end despite high energy prices and increasing interest rates.

Industrial output–comprising output in manufacturing, energy and construction–increased 1.1% on month after rising 2% in November, according to data from the country’s statistics office Insee published Friday. November’s sharp increase represented a rebound from October, when output declined markedly amid strikes at some of the countries’ biggest refineries.

Economists polled by The Wall Street Journal expected industrial output to increase 0.4% in December.

Manufacturing output–the largest component of industrial production–rose 0.3% on month, boosted by a 8.3% increase in transport equipment output. Energy production rose by a sharp 6% amid an increase in electricity and gas, while construction output fell by a marginal 0.1%.

The French factory sector has been struggling due to weakening demand and high energy prices, though recent surveys to manufacturers suggest the worst of the downturn is over.

France’s economy, eurozone’s second-largest, grew by a marginal 0.1% in 2022’s fourth quarter, shrugging off recession fears for this winter.

Write to Xavier Fontdegloria at xavier.fontdegloria@wsj.com

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