French service sector returns to growth in September

Some mixed data for the French economy this morning, as the situation improves in the services sector while the pace of contraction in manufacturing increases.

According to preliminary data from Markit, the service sector purchasing managers' index grew from 48.9 to 50.7 in September. That exceeds predictions of a rise to 49.3, and the break-even point for growth (any number above 50 implies growth).

Worse news in manufacturing, which had itself been expected to show growth this month. Instead, the manufacturing purchasing managers' index dropped from 49.7 to 49.5, short of a forecasted increase to 50.1.

Jack Kennedy, saenior economist at Markit, said:

The latest Flash PMI data point to stabilising business conditions in France during September. A return to expansion for the service sector counterbalanced a weaker manufacturing performance, but new business trends were broadly flat across both sectors. Employment also moved closer to stabilisation, which should help the economy remain on a firmer footing.