Industrial production in France in January recorded a negative 0.2 percent growth, a slightly bigger fall than expected, but it was a slower rate of fall than was seen in the previous month, even as manufacturing output increased after remaining stable in December. 

Industrial production had recorded a negative 0.6 percent growth in December, according to official data released Monday by the National Institute of Statistics and Economic Studies, or Insee. A Wall Street Journal consensus estimate had pegged January's number to be at a negative 0.1 percent. In January 2014, manufacturing output increased by 0.7 percent, after having remained stable in December 2013.

"During the last three months, manufacturing output improved moderately (+0.4%) and was higher than its last year’s level by 1.1%," Insee noted, adding: "During the last three months (q-o-q), output improved moderately in the manufacturing sector (+0.4%), as well as in industry as a whole (+0.3%)."

According to the data, output rose in the manufacture of transport equipment and the production of electrical, machine and electronic equipment while it declined in the manufacture of food products and beverages, and in the manufacture of coke and refined petroleum products.