PARIS (Reuters) – Activity in France’s manufacturing sector declined in February, after stabilising the previous month, due in part to worsening export demand, a survey by S&P Global showed on Wednesday.
“Moderate declines in December and January provided some hope that the worst was behind us, but the latest results throw this into doubt,” said S&P Senior Economist Joe Hayes.
S&P Global’s Purchasing Managers Index (PMI) for France fell to 47.4 points in February, from 50.5 the previous month, and missing the 47.9-point forecast given in a flash estimate earlier this month.
Any figure above 50 suggests an expansion in activity, while below that points to a contraction. The index was last below 50 in December when it hit 49.2.
New orders for French goods like cars and industrial appliances from overseas fell at the sharpest pace since May 2020, S&P Global said.
There were some positive signs though.
Logistics problems have eased recently, leading to shorter delivery times, reducing the need for companies to build up large stockpiles and leading to less buying of parts and materials.
Price pressures also eased, the survey showed.
“The rate of input cost inflation slowed markedly in February to its weakest since September 2020. More stable supply and pricing conditions will be welcomed by manufacturers,” said Hayes.
(Reporting by Tassilo Hummel; Editing by Susan Fenton)