French manufacturing picks up speed: survey

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Confidence is high in the French manufacturing sector where activity expanded at the fastest rate for 10 years in November, a survey showed on Wednesday.

The volume of orders taken also rose strongly, the survey of purchasing managers by the organisation Markit showed.

The purchasing managers' insights into activity in 750 companies in France are closely watched as leading indicators of important trends in the economy.

Some of those questioned said that the rise of new orders taken reflected a rebuilding of inventories by customers.

Internal demand in France was the main driver of the activity but development of new orders for export markets was accelerating and had reached the highest point for six months.

French manufacturers had taken on staff in November to cope with this increase in activity.

Consequently this measure of employment had risen for the first time for two and a half years and was rising at the fastest rate since July 2007.

Markit economist Jack Kennedy said that the current strength of the manufacturing sector raised the possibility that growth of the economy in the fourth quarter would exceed growth in the third quarter, as expected by the government.

© 2010 AFP

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