French business activity slowing: surveys

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French business activity continued to expand in September but progress was slower if still strong, with one survey at a 6-month low, data showed on Thursday.

The official statistics institute INSEE said its index of manufacturing confidence for September rose one point from the last reading in July to 98, having fallen to a record low 70 in the depths of the recession in March 2009.

The index long-term average is 100 points, a level it was now approaching again, INSEE noted .

The INSEE survey showed that industrialists felt business clearly slowed this month but was still growing, reflecting a wider slowdown after a strong recovery earlier this year.

Meanwhile, the Purchasing Managers Index (PMI) compiled by financial information group Markit fell to 58.5 points in September, a six-month low point, from 59.5 points in August.

By component, the services sector fell to 58.8 points from 60.4 in August but manufacturing rose to 55.4 from 55.1.

Markit said the survey results showed that although slowing, actitivity remained strong, with the third quarter ending on a positive note.

A reading above 50 points indicates expansion.

© 2010 AFP

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