France continues to lag eurozone’s PMI pick-up

The latest eurozone PMI data reveals that France is continuing to lag behind the rest of the eurozone.

The Markit Flash Eurozone Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index shows that business activity in the eurozone experienced a broad improvement at the start of 2014.

The index increased to 53.9 during the month of January, marking a 32-month high up from 52.7 at the end of 2013.

However Markit highlights France as “the main weak spot” during January, although its pace of contraction did slow to a three-month low.

“France was the main weak spot in January, remaining mired in a downturn that has run throughout much of the past two-and-a-half years, and with its recent performance disparity compared to Germany staying historically wide,” it says.

“Although the rate of output contraction eased sharply to a three-month low in January, the signal from the PMI is that the French manufacturing sector is contracting by as much as 1 per cent on a quarterly basis.”