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The latest flash France PMI® data indicated that private sector output increased at the sharpest rate in ten months during August. The Markit Flash France Composite Output Index, based on around 85% of normal monthly survey replies, posted 51.6, up from 50.1 in July, to signal a moderate pace of expansion. Service providers reported a second successive monthly rise in business activity during August. Moreover, the rate of growth was the fastest since October 2015. In the manufacturing sector, output was stable following a four-month period of contraction.
New business across the French private sector increased for the second month running during August. That said, the rate of growth remained marginal overall and was slightly weaker than in July. Expansion was centred on the service sector, where new work intakes rose for a sixth consecutive month. In contrast, manufacturers' new order books fell for the eighth month in a row, with the rate of decline quickening since July (partly reflecting a return to contraction of new export orders).
Employment at French private sector companies decreased in August, having risen slightly in the preceding month. However, the rate of job shedding was modest overall. Manufacturers reported a steeper drop in staffing levels than service providers.