France: Private sector activity rises at fastest clip in nine months in April
The seasonally-adjusted IHS Markit Flash Composite Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) rose to 51.7 in April, from March’s 50.0, marking the best reading since July last year. Consequently, the index moved above the 50-threshold that separates expansion from contraction in business conditions, signaling an improvement in private sector activity at the start of Q2.
April’s upturn largely came on the back of rebounding business activity, which expanded for the first time since August 2020. Activity in the services sector returned to growth, with the increase more than offsetting a slight slowdown in manufacturing output growth. Moreover, new orders rose at the fastest clip in nine months amid improving demand conditions. As a result, firms continued to raise staff levels, albeit at a softer pace compared to the previous month. On the price front, input price inflation rose to the highest level since January 2018, largely owing to global raw material shortfalls. In addition, output charges rose as firms passed on costs to clients. Lastly, confidence regarding the 12-month outlook was the strongest since February 2018 amid hopes of a strong recovery once restrictions are fully lifted.