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PARIS, (Reuters) - French manufacturing activity declined at its slowest pace in seven months in September, coming closer to stabilising than initially reported, a survey showed on Monday.
Data compiler Markit said its final purchasing managers' index rose to 49.7 in September from 48.3 in August. That was
slightly better than a preliminary reading of 49.5 and brought the index within a hair of the 50-point line dividing expansions in activity from contractions.
"The French manufacturing sector broadly held its ground in September, eking out marginal output growth and seeing the pace of decline in new orders ease sharply," Markit economist Jack Kennedy said.
With scant sign of demand improving dramatically in the months ahead, manufacturers ran down inventories and continued
shedding jobs, albeit at a slightly slower pace than the previous month.
Meanwhile, input prices picked up at the fastest pace since August 2015, while manufacturers further reduced selling prices in the face of competitive pressure, straining their margins.
Reporting by Leigh Thomas; Editing by Hugh Lawson