October 1, 2018 / 8:00 AM / a year ago

French factory growth slowest in three months in September - PMI

FILE PHOTO: Robots assemble Renault and Nissan automobiles on the production line at the Renault SA car factory in Flins, near Paris, France, February 23, 2017. REUTERS/Benoit Tessier

PARIS (Reuters) - French manufacturing activity grew in September at the slowest pace in three months as export demand weakened and input costs firmed, a monthly poll showed on Monday.

Data compiler IHS Markit said its final purchasing managers’ index fell to 52.5 in September from 53.5 in August, unchanged from a preliminary reading.

The result brought the indicator closer to the 50-point line dividing expansions in activity from contractions.

Survey panellists reported the lowest factory output in two years as export orders fell slightly last month, while input costs grew much fast than selling prices.

“Global trade frictions and stretched supply chain capacity were the main headwinds faced by goods producers, which contributed to an unhealthy mix of falling export sales and rising input prices,” IHS Markit associate director Tim Moore said.

He said that the automotive sector in particular reported weak business conditions, but said that in a positive note overall firms stepped up hiring.

“Job creation edged up slightly since August, which manufacturers linked to long-term capacity upgrades and ongoing business investment plans at their plants,” he said.

Business investment has been one of the main engines of growth in the French economy this year, helping to underpin employment gains in the face of weak household consumption.

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