French services sector ekes out growth in August

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Businessmen enjoy the good weather at lunch time under the Arche de la Defense, in the financial and business district west of Paris, as warm and sunny weather continues in France, March 13, 2014. REUTERS/Charles Platiau

PARIS (Reuters) – France’s dominant services sector lost more steam in August, and the outlook among purchasing managers appears bleak, a survey showed on Monday.

S&P Global (NYSE:) said its final monthly purchasing managers index for services in August fell to 51.2 points from 53.2 in July, slightly up from an initial late-August estimate of 51.0 points. Readings above 50.0 denote an expansion in activity.

“French service sector activity appears to be moving gradually towards stagnation territory, and forward-looking indicators suggest worse is to come,” said S&P economist Andrew Harker in a statement.

The composite PMI index, which includes the services and manufacturing sectors, last month stood on the edge of stagnation at 50.4 points, down from 51.7 in July.

New orders in the services sector dropped below the 50-point mark for the first time since early 2021, and business expectations slumped to a 21-months low.

S&P said the decline was above all due to weaker demand amid an increasingly grim business climate.

“The latest figures for services suggest that the overall economy is stagnating during the third quarter and on a weak footing as the final months of the year approach”, said Harker.

French Economy Minister Bruno Le Maire said last week the government’s full-year economic growth projection of 2.5% was “still achievable.”

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