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French Business Confidence Drops

Confidence fell to the lowest level in five years in September as financial turmoil and dimming prospects for the global economy hit sentiment, the French statistics office said.

PARIS (AP) -- French business confidence fell to the lowest level in five years in September as financial turmoil and dimming prospects for the global economy hit sentiment, the French statistics office said Wednesday.

The index of business confidence of statistics institute Insee fell five points to 92, the lowest level since August 2003. The monthly survey, based on interviews with around 4,000 companies, has tumbled 18 points this year.

Nicolas Bouzou of the economic consulting firm Asteres said indicators suggest France may be heading for a recession -- defined as two consecutive quarters of negative growth. France's economy shrank 0.3 percent in the second quarter.

Insee's sub-indexes showed executives are gloomier about the general economic outlook and their own prospects as orders drop.

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