Investing.com - Manufacturing activity in France expanded at the fastest pace since June 2011 this month, easing concerns over the economic outlook of the euro zone’s second-largest economy, preliminary data showed on Monday.
In a report, market research group Markit said that its preliminary French manufacturing purchasing managers’ index rose to a seasonally adjusted 51.9 in March from a reading of 49.7 in February. Analysts had expected the index to rise to 49.8 this month.
Meanwhile, the preliminary services purchasing managers’ index jumped to a seasonally adjusted 26-month high of 51.4 in March from 47.2 in February and above expectations for an increase to 47.5.
A reading above 50.0 on the index indicates industry expansion, below indicates contraction.
Commenting on the report, Jack Kennedy, Senior Economist at Markit said, “Much -improved PMI data in March indicate that the private sector is moving in the right direction, with activity, new business and backlogs all returning to growth.”
Following the release of the data, the euro added to gains against the U.S. dollar, with EUR/USD rising 0.2% to trade at 1.3821, compared to 1.3799 ahead of the data.
Meanwhile, European stock markets were mixed after the open. The DJ Euro Stoxx 50 fell 0.15%, France’s CAC 40 declined 0.1%, London’s FTSE 100 was flat, while Germany''s DAX eased up 0.15%.