* Sees some consumer caution due to economic uncertainty
* Says lower stock levels vs 2008 mean steel less vulnerable (Adds detail, background)
PARIS, Oct 12 (Reuters) - The steel sector in France is not seeing signs of a significant decrease in demand, despite some caution created by an uncertain economic environment, the country’s steel federation said on Wednesday.
Major industrial sectors in France, such as car making and construction, were still showing reasonable demand, Philippe Darmayan, the federation’s chairman, said.
“All these businesses are working today, still continuing. We do not see any big decrease in the day-to-day business,” he told a conference. “Even housing in France is doing okay so far.”
Uncertainty about economic growth and financial markets had created caution among industrial and household consumers since the second half, he said.
“The main impact is a wait-and-see attitude for consumption,” he told the annual conference of the World Steel Association.
But with inventory levels much lower than in 2008 the steel industry was now much better placed to recover from any weakening in demand, he said.
“I think we can be cautiously optimistic,” he said.
France is Europe’s fourth-largest steel producer, with annual production of some 15 million tonnes, two-thirds of which are accounted for by ArcelorMittal , the world’s biggest steel company, he said.
ArcelorMittal has in recent weeks announced plans to idle several of its European furnaces, including one in France, in response to softening demand.
Darmayan was previously head of ArcelorMittal’s distribution solutions division and will take up in December the post of chief executive of Aperam , the stainless steel producer spun off by ArcelorMittal earlier this year. (Reporting by Gus Trompiz and Gilles Guillaume; Editing by Alison Birrane)