French Economy Maintains Momentum on Strongest Demand Since 2011

  • Composite Purchasing Managers’ Index rises to 59.7 from 59.6
  • New orders, employment increase amid elevated confidence

France’s private-sector output maintained its momentum at the start of 2018 as companies benefited from the strongest demand in more than six years.

IHS Markit said its composite Purchasing Managers’ Index rose to 59.7 from 59.6 in December. A gauge of new orders jumped to 60, the highest since April 2011.

The report also showed that employment rose and business confidence remained elevated, while an increase in backlogs of work suggests continued support for growth.

Markit noted that both input costs and selling prices rose sharply and warned that continued increases could damp demand.

The improved picture for France -- and the broader euro area -- reflects a strengthening global economy. The International Monetary Fund this week raised its forecasts for world output growth and sees 2018 hitting the fastest expansion in seven years.

Markit will publish its January surveys for Germany and the euro area later on Wednesday. Economists forecast a reading of 57.9 in the 19-nation currency zone, down slightly from 58.1 in December.

— With assistance by Mark Evans

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