PARIS (Reuters) – Activity in the French services sector expanded in September, albeit by a bit less than initially forecast, a survey showed on Wednesday, as worries about inflation lingered.
S&P Global said its final French services purchasing managers index (PMI) rose to 52.9 points in September from 51.2 in August, which had marked a 16-month low. The final September figure was slightly below a flash forecast of 53.0 points.
A reading above 50 marks growth in activity.
Data published last month showed that France’s annual inflation rate slipped back to 6.2% in September from 6.6% in August, although inflation within the broader euro zone zoomed past forecasts to a record high of 10% in September.
“The slight pick-up in French service sector activity growth in September does little to ignite hopes that this is the start of a sustained improvement. Other survey indicators like new orders which, despite rising for the first time since July, point to underlying weakness as the measure remained bogged down in subdued territory,” said S&P Global Market Intelligence senior economist Joe Hayes.
“Inflationary pressures meanwhile intensified in September, primarily as a result of surging energy prices,” added Hayes.
(Reporting by Sudip Kar-Gupta; Editing by Susan Fenton)