French Economic Growth Quickens as Services Activity Picks Up

France’s economic recovery gathered pace this month as growth in the services sector offset weakness in manufacturing.

A Purchasing Managers’ Index for manufacturing and services rose to 52.3 in November from 51.6 a month earlier, IHS Markit said on Wednesday. That’s the highest level in two months and above the 50 mark that divides expansion from contraction. While France returned to growth in the third quarter, the unemployment rate increased in a sign of the fragile recovery in the euro area’s second-largest economy. The European Commission expects French growth to average 1.4 percent, up from 1.3 percent projected for 2016. “The latest figures point to a further solid rate of growth in the French private sector,” said Alex Gill, an economist at IHS Markit. “The expansion was driven by another marked rise in service sector activity, buoyed by a sharp rise in new orders.”

France’s services PMI rose to 52.6 in November from 51.4, while a gauge for manufacturing dipped to 51.5, a two-month low, amid a further stagnation in new orders.

Composite PMIs for Germany and the euro area will be released at 9:30 a.m. and 10 a.m. Frankfurt time, respectively.

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