France: Private sector activity softens in November
The seasonally-adjusted IHS Markit Flash Composite Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) eased to 52.1 in November from 52.6 in October. Nevertheless, the index remained above the 50-threshold that separates expansion from contraction in business conditions.
November’s slip reflected easing activity and new business in the service sector amid weaker domestic demand. Conversely, the manufacturing sector reported the quickest expansion in output since June, buoyed by upbeat new orders, specially from abroad. Despite the milder overall activity, employment rose at the fastest pace in more than a year in November as both sectors hiked their workforce numbers. Finally, business confidence rose to a seven-month high.
In view of November’s developments, Eliot Kerr, economist at IHS Markit, noted:
“The latest PMI data revealed a softer rise in demand across the service sector, with new order growth easing from October. […] Meanwhile, there was a role reversal for the manufacturing sector, where a quicker increase in production provided support for the headline composite figure. However, this was insufficient to offset the slowdown in services, as overall output growth softened.”.