French Private Sector Expands For First Time Since August

France’s private sector returned to growth for the first time since August 2020, driven by a fresh increase in services activity amid continuing manufacturing sector growth, flash survey data from IHS Markit showed on Friday.

The flash composite output index advanced unexpectedly to 51.7 in April from 50.0 in March. The score was forecast to fall to 48.8.

A fresh increase in services activity outweighed a slight slowdown in manufacturing growth. That said, the rise in output at goods producers was far stronger than that at their service sector counterparts.

The services Purchasing Managers’ Index came in at 50.4, up from 48.2 in March and above forecast of 46.5.

The manufacturing PMI fell slightly to 59.2 from 59.3 a month ago. Nonetheless, the reading was better than the consensus of 59.0.

With positive signs on the demand front and capacity pressures intensifying in both subsectors, the short-term outlook is continuing to strengthen for French businesses, Eliot Kerr, an economist at IHS Markit said.

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