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BUSINESS

Big jump in French business confidence

French business confidence improved sharply in March, with the composite business climate index jumping four points from the level in February to 95, the INSEE national statistics institute said on Friday.

Big jump in French business confidence
Photo: Patrick Nouhailler

The unexepected rise in the indicator still leaves it below the long-term average fixed at 100 points.

The key industrial confidence index rose three points to 96 points, while analysts and economists surveyed by Dow Jones Newswires had expected it to come in at 93 points.

The sentiment concerning demand and total order levels improved by three points, while that for exports jumped by 18 points, but both remained sharply negative.

“Looking at the personal production outlook, which improves markedly, activity in manufacturing industry would be more dynamic in the next months,” said INSEE.

“The general production outlook, which represents business leaders’ opinion on French industry as a whole, improves strongly but are always below its long-term average,” it added.

The general production expectations for industry rose by 17 points to -15.

The index for the services sector rose two points in March to 93 points, while that for retail trade climbed by three points to 94 points.  

The construction index dipped one point to 98, while the wholesale trade index came in at 100.

Another key leading indicator, the Purchasing Managers’ Index compiled by the Markit research firm, fell in March to 49.0 points from 50.2 points in February however.

BUSINESS

French court hands Amazon €90,000-per-day fine over contracts

French authorities on Wednesday slapped a €90,000-per-day fine on e-commerce giant Amazon until it removes abusive clauses in its contracts with businesses using its platform to sell their goods.

French court hands Amazon €90,000-per-day fine over contracts

The anti-fraud Direction générale de la concurrence, de la consommation et de la répression des fraudes (DGCCRF) service said the online sales giant’s contracts with third-party sellers who use its Amazon.fr website contain “unbalanced” clauses.

“The company Amazon Services Europe did not comply completely with an injunction it was served and it is now subject to a fine of €90,000 per day of delay” in applying the changes, the DGCCRF said in a statement.

It also urged the platform to conform with European rules on equity and transparency for firms using online platforms.

Amazon said the order would harm consumers.

“The changes imposed by the DGCCRF will stop us from effectively protecting consumers and permit bad actors to set excessive prices or spam our clients with commercial offers,” the e-commerce giant said in a statement.

“We will comply with the DGCCRF’s decision but we absolutely do not understand it and we are challenging it in court,” responded the e-commerce giant in a statement.

Amazon said the clauses that the DGCCRF has ordered removed had, for example “prevented the appearance of exorbitant prices for mask and hydroalcoholic gel during the pandemic”.

In 2019, Amazon was fined €4 million for “manifestly unbalanced” contract clauses with third-party sellers on its site in a case brought by the DGCCRF.

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