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French Factory Sector Contracts Less Than Expected In April

The French manufacturing sector contracted less than economists expected in April, preliminary data from a survey by Markit Economics can CDAF showed Monday.

The seasonally adjusted purchasing managers' index (PMI) for the manufacturing sector came in at 47.3 in April, higher than 47.2 economists forecast. In March, the index had fallen to a 34-month low of 46.7. A PMI reading below 50 indicates contraction in the sector, while one above suggests growth.

The manufacturing output index improved to 47.7 during the month from 45.6 in the previous month. New orders received by firms decreased sharply in April, owing to weaker market demand and, in some cases, uncertainty surrounding the upcoming presidential elections.

Manufacturers indicated the sharpest reduction in payroll numbers since July 2010. Output prices in French factories increased at a weaker pace in April.

The French service sector contracted for the first time in five months in April, with the relevant PMI falling to a six-month low of 46.4 from the March reading of 50.1. Economists were looking for a reading of 50.2.

At the same time, the composite output index, which measures activity in both the manufacturing and service sectors, dropped to a six-month low of 46.8 in April from 48.7 in march, hurt mainly by the contraction in the service sector.

by RTT Staff Writer

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