Latest data released by Markit - 23 April 2021

  • Prior 48.2
  • Manufacturing PMI 59.2 vs 59.0 expected
  • Prior 59.3
  • Composite PMI 51.7 vs 49.4 expected
  • Prior 50.0

The headline reading comes in at a eight-month high as business activity returned to growth for the first time since August last year. This is a welcome beat for the French economy amid continued worries surrounding the virus situation and tighter restrictions.

That said, the expansion in the services sector was marginal if anything else.

But at least the good news is that demand conditions are seen improving with new business climbing for a second month running and at its quickest pace since July 2020.

Markit notes that:

"Latest PMI data pointed to the first increase in private sector activity since the end of the initial COVID-19 rebound last summer. The result was a continuation of the improved trend seen in recent months, but previously growth had remained elusive due to an ongoing decline in the service sector. However, with an expansion in services activity and another strong rise in manufacturing production during April, the French private sector finally managed to achieve growth.

"Furthermore, with positive signs on the demand front and capacity pressures intensifying in both subsectors, the short-term outlook is continuing to strengthen for French businesses. Beyond the next few months, panel members are also confident of further upward momentum in demand and that was reflected by the strongest expectations towards the 12-month business outlook for over three years."