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French services sector shrinks less than expected in Oct -PMI

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© People walk past a restaurant at the Butte Montmartre in Paris, France, July 10, 2023. REUTERS/Sarah Meyssonnier

PARIS () – The mood in France’s services sector improved more than expected in October although it remained negative overall, a business survey showed on Tuesday.

The HCOB France flash purchasing managers index (PMI) for the services sector, compiled by S&P Global, came in at 46.1 points, up from a final 44.4 in September and beating the analysts’ consensus view of 44.6 in a poll.

While the pace of contraction softened from September, it was still the second-strongest in almost three years, S&P Global said in a press release. Any reading above 50 points signals economic growth while values below that point to contraction.

“The services sector is hitting roadblocks”, said HCOB economist Norman Liebke, citing a further drop in new orders and a continued slowdown in the job market.

Manufacturing remained in a downturn, with the related flash October PMI slipping to 42.6 points from 44.2, a 41-month low. A composite index, combining services and manufacturing, came in at 45.3 points.

Lower manufacturing demand also led to a faster reduction in backlogs of work, Liebke said, which will further limit activity gains in the coming months.

The survey also pointed to potential new inflation worries.

“The pace of increase in input prices rose for the second month in a row amid rising fuel prices and reports of sustained wage pressures” said Liebke, adding: “Although the increase in output prices slowed slightly, accelerated input price inflation could lead to higher output charges.”

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