France’s private sector activity deteriorated for the third consecutive month in January, though modestly, indicating that the country’s economic downturn has remained mild in nature thus far, preliminary results of the purchasing managers survey by S&P Global showed on Tuesday.
The flash composite output index dropped slightly to 49.0 in January from 49.1 in December. Meanwhile, the reading was forecast to rise to 49.5.
Any reading below 50 indicates contraction, while a score above 50 suggests expansion in the sector.
The French private sector continued to remain in contraction at the start of the year, reflecting a further drop in factory goods production and a sustained weakening across the service sector.
New orders fell for the sixth successive month across the private sector, resulting backlogs of work to decline.
However, employment growth strengthened to a three-month high and business confidence improved markedly. Cost inflation eased, while selling prices rose at the steepest pace in three months.
The services Purchasing Managers’ Index dropped to a 22-month low of 49.2 from 49.5 in December. The score was forecast to increase to 49.8.
At the same time, the manufacturing PMI rose to a 7-month high of 50.8 in January from 49.2 a month ago. The expected score was 49.6.
“Increased business optimism and stronger hiring suggests there are plenty of companies across France who are preparing for the downturn to be short-lived,” Joe Hayes, a senior economist at S&P Global Market Intelligence, said.
The material has been provided by InstaForex Company – www.instaforex.com