French business output grew in March, PMI survey says

car factory Markit says the eurozone recovery is "gaining traction"

Related Stories

France's private sector companies grew at their fastest pace in two and a half years in March, bucking forecasts for a further contraction, a survey says.

The preliminary estimate of Markit's composite Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI) for France was 51.6 in March, up from February's 47.9 reading and above the 50 level that indicates expansion.

It came as business growth in the eurozone slowed slightly last month.

The eurozone composite PMI for March was 53.2, just below February's 53.3.

However, the eurozone's economy has now grown for nine months in a row, according to Markit, and is set to expand by 0.5% in the first quarter of 2014.

The survey also found that employment had increased, albeit slightly, for the second month in a row.

"The recovery is gaining traction. One of the particularly encouraging signs policymakers will take from this is that it has broadened out to encompass France," said Chris Williamson, chief economist at Markit.

Economists had expected French private sector businesses to continue to contract in March.

"The surveys suggest that that the eurozone's recovery is gradually becoming more firmly established," said Howard Archer, chief European and UK economist at IHS Global Insight.

More on This Story

Related Stories

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites

More Business stories

RSS

Features

  • Abdi Nor IftinGolden ticket

    How a refugee entered a lottery and won a new life in the US


  • Herring in a fur coatMerry herring

    How fish 'in a fur coat' is enough to make Russia's New Year happy


  • Curiosity Self Portrait at Windjana Drilling SiteIn pictures

    The most stunning space photos of the year


  • Amy Adams, Cate Blanchett, Sandra Bullock and Dame Judi DenchFilm quiz of 2014

    How much do you remember about the past 12 months?


From BBC Capital

Programmes

  • Click presenter Spencer Kelly flies a droneClick Watch

    From wearable technology to drones and robots - highlights from 2014

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.