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French Economy Grows Most in 15 Months as Services Strengthen

 France’s private-sector economy grew the most in 15 months in September, continuing an improvement in recent months after stagnation in the second quarter.

A composite Purchasing Managers’ Index rose to 53.3 from

51.9 in August, IHS Markit Economics said Friday. While the manufacturing gauge remained below the key 50 mark that divides expansion from contraction, the reading was the best in six months. Services expanded the most in more than a year.

Economists surveyed by Bloomberg forecast the French economy will grow 0.3 percent this quarter and maintain that pace in the final three months of the year. Markit said the pickup in September was helped by improved orders and there was a “marginal” rise in employment.

Markit economist Jack Kennedy said the numbers “raise hopes of a firmer GDP print for the third quarter after growth ground to a halt in the second quarter.”

In the euro area, the composite PMI probably came in at

52.8 this month, little changed from the 52.9 in August, according to a survey. Markit will publish those numbers at 9 a.m. London time.

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