French business activity grows at fastest rate in 4 years in April - S&P Global

French business activity grows at fastest rate in 4 years in April - S&P Global

A view at sunset shows the Eiffel Tower and the financial and business district of La Defense in Puteaux near Paris.

PARIS Reuters -- French business activity grew at the fastest rate in more than four years, a monthly survey showed, as the euro zone's second biggest economy benefited from fewer COVID 19 restrictions, more job creation and higher orders.

Inflation remained a concern for many French businesses, according to S&P Global's monthly purchasing managers' survey released on Friday.

S&P Global said in April its PMI reading for France rose to 58.8 points from March, up from 57.4 in March, and beat expectations for a reading of 56.5 points.

Any reading above 50 indicates growth.

The flash manufacturing PMI for April rose to 55.4 points from 54.7 in March, beating a forecast of 53.0 points.

The overall PMI for April rose to 57.5 points from 56.3 in March, also topping forecasts, as well as to 57.5 points for the services and manufacturing sectors.

The flash April PMI numbers for the services index and the composite index were their highest levels in more than four years, according to S&P Global.

Expectations that Emmanuel Macron will beat the far-right rival Marine Le Pen on Sunday and be re-elected as the country's president has boosted French equities and bonds over the last week. Inflation continues to cast a shadow over the French and global economies.

The strongest increase in economic output for over four years suggests there was still plenty of COVID catch-up at the beginning of the second quarter. S&P Global senior economist Joe Hayes said that comments from our panel members back this up, with many linking this to an increase in orders.

Hayes said that it's difficult to see sustained post-pandemic recovery efforts offsetting the negative impact of rising prices, given how rampant inflation is at present.