2017 Economic Calendar
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France : PMI Composite FLASH  
Released On 2/21/2017 3:00:00 AM For Feb, 2017
Composite - Level53.8 53.8 56.2 
Manufacturing - Level53.4 53.5 52.3 
Services - Level53.9 53.9 56.7 

The French economy picked up significant momentum in February if today's flash PMI results are anything to go by. The key composite output index provisionally weighed in at 56.2, a 2.1 point jump from its final January level, comfortably above market expectations and its strongest reading in some sixty-nine months.

However, the surprisingly good headline data masked widely divergent developments in the two main sectors. On the positive side, the services flash PMI shot up some 2.6 points to 56.7, its best mark in five and a half years. By contrast, its manufacturing counterpart fell 1.3 points to just 52.3, a 3-month low.

Promisingly, new business saw further growth in both categories and the aggregate measure posted a 69-month peak. Capacity pressures were also apparent with backlogs rising quite sharply, notably in services. As a result, overall headcount increased for a fourth consecutive month, again led by services where net additions were the largest in five and a half years. Against this backdrop, overall confidence in future output registered its best outturn in four and a half years.

Nonetheless, the pick-up in business activity comes from quite a low base and this was reflected in prices. Thus, while input cost inflation touched a 68-month high, aggregate selling prices still fell for a remarkable fifty-eighth consecutive month.

Today's report is a mixed bag but overall should be seen positively for the French economic recovery. Rising new orders and employment bode well and business confidence is clearly on the up. Nonetheless, the apparent upturn in the real economy must be sustained if corporate margins are to feel some relief and that will probably need a stronger manufacturing sector.

The flash Composite Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI) provides an early estimate of current private sector output by combining information obtained from surveys of around 750 manufacturing and service sector companies. The flash data are released around ten days ahead of the final report and are typically based upon around 85 percent of the full survey sample. Results are synthesised into a single index which can range between zero and 100. A reading above (below) 50 signals rising (falling) output versus the previous month and the closer to 100 (zero) the faster is output growing (contracting). The report also contains flash estimates of the manufacturing and services PMIs. The data are produced by Markit.  Why Investors Care

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