France: Private sector activity eases in January
The seasonally-adjusted IHS Markit Flash Composite Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) dipped to 51.1 in January from 52.0 in December. Nevertheless, the index remained above the 50-threshold that separates expansion from contraction in business conditions.
January’s dip reflected easing activity in the services sector, likely linked to national railway strikes, while activity in the manufacturing sector strengthened slightly. Services providers saw growth in new orders fall to a four-month low amid a decline in international demand. In contrast, manufacturers registered a renewed rise in orderbooks, boosted by upbeat foreign demand. Meanwhile, employment expanded moderately thanks to upbeat job creation by service providers. Finally, the business outlook turned more optimistic in January.
In view of January’s developments, Elliot Kerr, Economist at IHS Markit, noted:
“The French private sector began 2020 with a sluggish performance, as growth in both output and new orders eased to their slowest since September. The weakness stemmed from the service sector, where a softer expansion in activity more than offset a quicker rise in manufacturing production. Similarly, dampened new business growth in services outweighed a rebound in manufacturing.”