France March preliminary services PMI 47.8 vs 45.5 expected

Latest data released by Markit – 24 March 2021

  • Prior 45.6
  • Manufacturing PMI 58.8 vs 56.3 expected
  • Prior 56.1
  • Composite PMI 49.5 vs 47.2 expected
  • Prior 47.0

French business activity is seen stronger than estimated in March, even as tighter restrictions continue to put a dampener on overall economic conditions. This points to some stabilisation in activity but any major improvement is still unlikely in the short-term.
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Markit notes that:

“The latest France Flash PMI data provided positive
news for the French private sector. Activity trended
towards stabilisation, reversing the downward
momentum seen in January and February, and new
orders were unchanged after six months of
continuous decline. Meanwhile, hiring activity
continued to build and firms are confident of a rise in
activity once restrictions are relaxed.

“That said, there remain ongoing challenges related
to the pandemic. Firstly, raw material shortages
continued to drive costs sharply higher, which may
act as a squeeze on profit margins until the recovery
in demand conditions gathers pace. Secondly, the
threat of setbacks to the reopening of the economy
remains tangible. The recent re-introduction of
lockdown restrictions in Paris serves as a reminder
that the road to recovery may still be a bumpy one.”

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