French manufacturing contracts in August: PMI index

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French manufacturing contracted in August for the first time for more than two years, according to the manufacturing purchasing managers' index published Thursday by private firm Markit.

The index fell to 49.1 points in August from 50.5 in July. A score below 50 indicates a contraction.

It was the first time the index had shown a contraction since June 2009, and new orders were down at their sharpest rate since May 2009, London-based Markit said.

The PMI manufacturing index is watched as an important leading indicator of performance of the economy.

© 2011 AFP

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