PARIS (Reuters) - French business activity expanded at a slower-than-expected pace in September compared to the previous month, partly due to a deceleration in new business growth, a survey showed on Thursday.
Data compiler IHS Markit said its Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) for the services sector fell to 51.1 points in September from 53.4 points in August. The September level was also worse than a flash estimate for a reading of 51.6 points.
A reading of above 50 points signals an expansion in activity, while below 50 marks a contraction.
IHS Markit’s overall composite PMI index, which includes the services and manufacturing sectors, fell to 50.8 points in September from 52.9 in August. The final reading for the September composite PMI index was also worse than a flash estimate reading of 51.3 points.
Data earlier this week showed that French manufacturing activity had also dipped in September.
“Private sector activity growth eased at the end of the third quarter, driven by a softer rise in services and a return to contraction in manufacturing,” said IHS Markit economist Eliot Kerr.
“The results in services are particularly concerning as they suggest negative spillover effects from manufacturing are beginning to come to fruition,” added Kerr, who noted that France was nevertheless faring better than other European economies.
Reporting by Sudip Kar-Gupta; Editing by Leigh Thomas and Catherine Evans