French factory activity expanded at the strongest pace in seven months in February, rebounding from a contraction in the previous month, a survey by Markit Economics revealed Wednesday.
The flash France manufacturing purchasing managers' index rose to a seven-month high of 50.2 in February from 48.5 in January. Economists were expecting only a modest improvement to 49.
A PMI reading above 50 indicates expansion of the sector, while a reading below 50 suggests contraction. The manufacturing output index rose to an eight-month high of 51.4 from 48.8 in January.
The services activity index, meanwhile, fell to 50.3 in February from from 52.3 in the previous month. The reading was below the consensus forecast of 52.
The composite output index fell to 50.6 this month from 51.2 last month, suggesting that the private sector economy is close to stagnation.
Overall new business stabilized in February, ending a five-month sequence of falls. This reflected a faster rise in new work received by service providers, combined with a slower decline in new orders at manufacturers, Markit said.
by RTT Staff Writer
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