French Industrial Confidence Climbs to Highest in 2 Years

French industrial confidence rose to the highest in more than two years, a sign that the recovery in Europe’s second-largest economy is strengthening.

The Bank of France’s index of sentiment among factory executives jumped to 99 in October from 97 in September, while the service index was unchanged at 93. The readings suggest gross domestic product will expand 0.4 percent in the fourth quarter, the central bank said in an e-mailed statement.

The increase brings industrial confidence to its highest since June 2011, before European governments organized a writedown of Greek public debt that contributed to a euro-area recession that only ended in the second quarter. The prospect of recovery comes as President Francois Hollande grapples with record-low popularity and a reduction in France’s credit rating to the third-highest level by Standard & Poor’s.

“This is a normalization,” said Fabrice Montagne, an economist at Barclays in Paris. “Things are getting better, but this is not yet a very strong recovery.”

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