Latest data released by Markit - 24 March 2021

  • Prior 45.6
  • Manufacturing PMI 58.8 vs 56.3 expected
  • Prior 56.1
  • Composite PMI 49.5 vs 47.2 expected
  • Prior 47.0

French business activity is seen stronger than estimated in March, even as tighter restrictions continue to put a dampener on overall economic conditions. This points to some stabilisation in activity but any major improvement is still unlikely in the short-term.

Markit notes that:

"The latest France Flash PMI data provided positive news for the French private sector. Activity trended towards stabilisation, reversing the downward momentum seen in January and February, and new orders were unchanged after six months of continuous decline. Meanwhile, hiring activity continued to build and firms are confident of a rise in activity once restrictions are relaxed.

"That said, there remain ongoing challenges related to the pandemic. Firstly, raw material shortages continued to drive costs sharply higher, which may act as a squeeze on profit margins until the recovery in demand conditions gathers pace. Secondly, the threat of setbacks to the reopening of the economy remains tangible. The recent re-introduction of lockdown restrictions in Paris serves as a reminder that the road to recovery may still be a bumpy one."