French manufacturing firms in February on domestic demand: PMI

An employee works on the production line at the Aube Tricotage factory in Sainte-Savine
An employee works on the production line at the Aube Tricotage factory in Sainte-Savine, France, October 30, 2018. REUTERS/Benoit Tessier

March 1, 2019

PARIS, March 1 (Reuters) – French manufacturing picked up in February as a more resilient domestic market helped offset weak export demand, a monthly survey showed on Friday.

Data compiler IHS Markit said its final purchasing managers’ index rose to 51.5 in February from 51.2 in January. That was marginally better than a preliminary reading of 51.4 and brought the index further from the 50-point line dividing expansions in activity from contractions.

Manufacturers saw output increase for the first time since September while new orders returned to growth for the first time since October.

The improvement in the order flow came entirely from demand at home as export orders weakened for the sixth consecutive month, IHS Markit.

“The results show that France’s domestic performance provided resistance against weakening export markets,” IHS Markit economist Eliot Kerr said.

“Such resilience was not seen in Germany, where the latest flash release showed a collapse in manufacturing export business, driving output into contraction territory,” Kerr added.

(Reporting by Leigh Thomas; Editing by Toby Chopra; leigh.thomas@thomsonreuters.com; +33 1 4949 5143)

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