Published: Tue, March 06, 2018
Markets | By Rosalie Gross

French business activity slows to four-month low in February: PMI

French business activity slows to four-month low in February: PMI

The euro zone's economic boom paused last month as rising prices took a toll on demand, but the zone remains on course for its best growth in eight years, a survey showed today.

The data, compiled by IHS Markit, showed that the headline PMI rose from 50.2 in January to 50.7 in February, signalling a further improvement in the health of the sector. It estimates growth of 0.4 percent this quarter, matching the rate of the final three months of 2017.

"Today's data suggests that business-to-business sales grew in February, helped by the improving global economic backdrop", added Justin Zatouroff, head of business services sector at KPMG. Against the euro, the pound was 0.2% higher at 1.121.

IHS Markit said expansions in output, new orders and employment were all faster than in January.

Economic growth in the United Kingdom might be stronger than thought, after a closely-watched index suggested the services sector is now the fastest growing part of the economy.

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It follows disappointing February PMI readings for construction and manufacturing last week, but services account for nearly 80 per cent of output, meaning it is the most significant indicator of the three. In fact, the services sector was growing faster than manufacturing for only the second time since the Brexit referendum.

Mr Williamson said that the surveys...

However, businesses found some respite last month, as input price inflation rolled back to its lowest level since August 2016.

Business-to-business work was higher, but weak household budgets remained a drag, firms reported.

Growth in the Asean manufacturing economy gathered pace midway through the first quarter, according to the Nikkei ASEAN Manufacturing Purchasing Managers' Index.

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